Dr. William Schonberg, interim dean of the School of Engineering at the University of Missouri-Rolla, has been honored with a Fraunhofer Bessel Research Award and a six-month fellowship from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation.
The Bessel Research Award is conferred annually on up to three distinguished scientists and scholars from the United States. Schonberg was selected for the award based on his lifetime achievements in space debris research, which has been used in orbital debris impact assessment, as well as spacecraft design and protection. In addition, the foundation awarded Schonberg with an Alexander von Humboldt Research Fellowship to facilitate his research activities at the Ernst Mach Institute in Freiburg, Germany.
“This fellowship is the direct result of our department’s efforts that began about two years ago and were directed at increasing the department’s international mission in terms of visibility, reach, faculty exchange and student internships,” Schonberg says.
Schonberg joined the UMR civil, architectural and environmental engineering department as chair and professor in 1999 and became interim dean of the School of Engineering in July 2006. Jerry Bayless, current interim chair of the department, will remain in that position until Schonberg’s return in mid-January 2008.
Schonberg is a fellow of both the American Society of Mechanical Engineers and the American Society of Civil Engineers. He is also an Associate Fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics. His research in the areas of shock physics, hypervelocity impacts and penetration mechanics has been applied to a variety of engineering problems — including the challenge of protecting low-earth orbiting spacecraft from high speed debris impacts.
After earning bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from Princeton University in 1981, Schonberg earned a master’s degree in civil engineering (1983) and a Ph.D. in civil engineering (1986) from Northwestern University.