The American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) recently selected the Class of 2016 AIAA Fellows and Honorary Fellows. This group of Fellows and Honorary Fellows represents the best of the aerospace community, as well as those who have contributed and advanced the aerospace industry. AME alumnus Brian Argrow, Ph.D., was selected as a 2016 AIAA Fellow.
Dr. Argrow graduated from AME with his B.S. in Aerospace Engineering in 1983, M.S. in Mechanical Engineering in 1986 and Ph.D. in Aerospace Engineering in 1989. During his time as a student, he worked closely with Dr. George Emanuel and Dr. Maurice Rasmussen. Dr. Argrow still remains in close contact with Dr. Emanuel today. While pursuing his M.S., Dr. Argrow focused his research on the design of supersonic minimum-length nozzles (MLN) and its application ranged from rocket and scramjet engines to gasdynamics lasers. During his doctoral studies, his research concentrated on the verification and analysis of the MLN flow field. After he completed his Ph.D., Dr. Argrow worked at AME as an Assistant Professor from 1989 to 1992.
In 1992, he move to Boulder to begin his career at the University of Colorado (UC). Dr. Argrow is now a Professor of Aerospace Engineering Sciences, Director of the UC’s Integrated Remote and In-Situ Sensing Program and founding director emeritus of the Research Engineering Center for Unmanned Vehicles (RECUV).
Professor Argrow’s research interests range from small unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) design and airspace integration to satellite aerodynamics, sonic boom, and engineering education. In the mid-1990s, he led supersonic wind tunnel tests at the NASA Langley Research Center that were the first to verify the method of osculating cones for supersonic waverider design. In 2000, Dr. Argrow’s research team created the first of its kind shock tube to create uniform static initial conditions near 800°F to explore non-classical dense gas dynamics. In 2010 he led the first UAS team to intercept a supercell thunderstorm as part of the second Verification of the Origins of Rotation in Tornadoes Experiment (VORTEX-2), the largest project ever organized to understand tornadoes. The technologies developed by Professor Argrow’s VORTEX-2 research group led to the formation of two companies, UASUSA, a manufacturer of small UAS, and Black Swift Technologies, a company created by RECUV Ph.D. graduates to manufacture autopilots and networked sensing/communications solutions.
Along with Dr. Argrow’s recent honor of being named an AIAA Fellow, he has received several teaching and education awards including the W.M. Keck Foundation Award for Excellence in Engineering Education and is a CU President’s Teaching Scholar, as well as a Fellow of the CU Center for STEM Learning. In 2007, he served as co-chair of the first Symposium for Civilian Applications of Unmanned Aircraft Systems, and since 2008 he has chaired workshops and moderated several panels on research directions for the integration of UAS into the National Airspace System. Dr. Argrow is chair-emeritus of the AIAA Unmanned Systems Program Committee (USPC). During his tenure as chair, he led the USPC to expand its focus to include a technically informed discussion of airspace integration policy and developed a formal partnership with the Association for Unmanned Vehicles Systems International (AUVSI). He then organized and chaired the first major joint AIAA/AUVSI event, the second Workshop on Civilian Applications of Unmanned Aircraft Systems at AUVSI’s Unmanned Systems 2014 Conference in May 2014.
In 2014, Dr. Argrow completed a semester sabbatical at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration National Severe Storms Laboratory at the National Weather Center in Norman, where he is continuing to collaborate with severe-storms researchers to develop new capabilities for using small UAS for in-situ and remote data collection to advance severe weather forecasting and reduce warning times.
Lastly, Dr. Argrow leaves current AME students with some advice, “I hope that you understand that what you ultimately get out of your education is directly proportional to what you put into it in terms of hard work, perseverance, and the recognition that learning is both a personal responsibility and a life-long commitment.”