Alexander Smits, chair of the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, was named the chair of the Division of Fluid Dynamics of the American Physical Society at the society’s annual meeting in November. The appointment is for a one-year term.

Smits, the Eugene Higgins Professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, is the director of the University’s Gas Dynamics Laboratory. His research interests center on fundamental experimental work in turbulence and fluid mechanics.

A member of the University faculty since 1981, Smits earned his Ph.D. from the University of Melbourne, Australia. He is a former editor-in-chief of the journal Experimental and Thermal Fluid Science and is currently an associate editor of the Journal of Fluid Mechanics and the Journal of Turbulence. He also is chief editor of, a specialty web portal for students and researchers in fluid dynamics, and a founding partner of iCentral LLC, a publisher of specialty web portals.

Last year, Smits received the University’s highest honor, the President’s Award for Distinguished Teaching. He is a fellow of the American Physical Society, the American Institute for Aeronautics and Astronautics and the American Society of Mechanical Engineers.