Argonne scientist Paul Fischer named AAAS fellow for contributions to computational fluid dynamics

November 29, 2012

Paul Fischer of the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory has been named a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Fellows are elected for this honor by AAAS in recognition of their scientifically or socially distinguished efforts to advance science or its applications. This year’s AAAS fellows were formally announced in the AAAS News & Notes section of the journal Science on Nov. 30. The 2012 fellows will be presented with an official certificate and a gold and blue (representing science and engineering, respectively) rosette pin on Saturday, Feb. 16, from 8 to 10 a.m. at the AAAS Fellows Forum during the 2013 AAAS Annual Meeting in Boston.

A senior computational scientist in the Mathematics and Computer Science Division at the laboratory, Fischer was elected as an AAAS Fellow for his outstanding technical accomplishments in computational fluid dynamics (CFD) and fluid flow simulations on extreme-scale computers.

"It’s been a privilege to work at Argonne, where a high level of scientific scholarship and intellectual curiosity is pervasive,” Fischer said. “With support from the Office of Advanced Scientific Computing Research and other U.S. Department of Energy offices, I’ve had the chance to investigate problems of national interest.”

Fischer earned his Ph.D. degree in mechanical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. After a postdoctoral position at Caltech, he was an assistant professor at Brown University in applied mathematics. Fischer joined Argonne in 1998 as a mathematician and was promoted to senior computational scientist in 2008. He also is a senior fellow at the University of Chicago/Argonne Computation Institute.

One of Fischer’s most notable achievements is his design and development of the scalable CFD code Nek5000, which he has applied to challenging problems in hemodynamics and reactor hydrodynamics. He is author or co-author of more than 115 publications and coauthor of a book on high-order methods for incompressible fluid flow. Fischer also is on the board of directors of the IMACS Institute for Mathematics and Computer Science and is editor of the book series Interdisciplinary Mathematical Sciences published by World Scientific.

“Paul is a great man and a top scientist with interests that spawn from the most abstract mathematics to the most concrete numerical solvers. It is a pleasure to see his excellence recognized by AAAS,” said Marc Snir, director of the Mathematics and Computer Science Division at Argonne and Michael Faiman and Saburo Muroga Professor at the University of Illinoi at Urbana-Champaign.

Fischer has received several other awards, most notably the University of Chicago Distinguished Performance Awards (2009); the Gordon Bell Prize for High-Performance Computing (1999); and several DOE Innovative and Novel Computational Impact on Theory and Experiment (INCITE) awards. His simulation of the BP oil spill was shown on NBC Nightly News in 2010. Most recently he received an INCITE award for use of the Blue Gene/Q supercomputer at Argonne National Laboratory to model thermal hydraulics in next-generation reactors, with a focus on verification, validation, and co-design.

The tradition of AAAS Fellows began in 1874. Currently, members can be considered for the rank of Fellow if nominated by the steering groups of the association’s 24 sections, or by any three Fellows who are current AAAS members (so long as two of the three sponsors are not affiliated with the nominee's institution), or by the AAAS chief executive officer.

The American Association for the Advancement of Science is the world’s largest general scientific society and publisher of the journal Science. AAAS was founded in 1848 and includes some 261 affiliated societies and academies of science, serving 10 million individuals. Science has the largest paid circulation of any peer-reviewed general science journal in the world, with an estimated total readership of 1 million. The nonprofit AAAS is open to all and fulfills its mission to “advance science and serve society” through initiatives in science policy, international programs, science education and more.