IIT Engineering’s Matthew Peet Wins Prestigious NSF CAREER Award

Award Will Support Research to Improve Understanding and Control of Nuclear Fusion Reactors


Chicago, IL — February 15, 2012 —

Illinois Institute of Technology is pleased to announce that Assistant Professor of Aerospace Engineering Matthew Peet has been awarded a National Science Foundation (NSF) Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Award for 2012.

The CAREER Award, one of the NSF’s most prestigious honors, supports early career-development activities of junior faculty who exemplify the role of teacher-scholars through the integration of outstanding research and excellent education.

Peet was recognized for his proposal “A New Computational Framework for Control of Complex Systems.” The five-year, $400,000 CAREER Award will support Peet’s groundbreaking research, a goal of which is to create reliable algorithms for improved understanding and control of complex fluid-plasma dynamics, such as those that occur in a nuclear fusion reactor. In nuclear fusion reactors, the heating of hydrogen plasma causes hydrogen isotopes to fuse together, releasing copious energy with no long-term radioactive waste. However, the fusion process is complex and highly unstable, and experiments with nuclear fusion plasma have yet to sustain a positive net energy production. Through improved regulation of plasma density and temperature, the efficiency of nuclear fusion may be greatly improved. Such improvement has long-term implications for future worldwide energy production, including reduced greenhouse gas emissions, the elimination of radioactive waste, and decreased risk of nuclear proliferation. The algorithms developed in this project may also be applied to the control of other complex systems involving fluids or structures, such as blood flow around an aneurysm or vibration in an aircraft wing.

“A New Computational Framework for Control of Complex Systems”

Founded in 1890, IIT is a Ph.D.-granting university with more than 7,700 students in engineering, sciences, architecture, psychology, design, humanities, business and law. IIT's interprofessional, technology-focused curriculum is designed to advance knowledge through research and scholarship, to cultivate invention improving the human condition, and to prepare students from throughout the world for a life of professional achievement, service to society, and individual fulfillment. Visit www.iit.edu.