Eric Paterson, professor and head of the Department of Aerospace and Ocean Engineering in the College of Engineering at Virginia Tech, was recently named Commonwealth Professor of Marine Propulsion by the Virginia Tech Board of Visitors.

The Commonwealth Professor of Marine Propulsion professorship recognizes research excellence. Recipients hold the position for a five-year term.

Paterson is an internationally known expert in computational fluid dynamics and marine hydrodynamics. He came to Virginia Tech in 2012 from Penn State where he was a senior scientist at the university’s Applied Research Lab, the chief scientist of the computational mechanics division of the Applied Research Lab, and a professor of mechanical engineering.

His current research focuses on ship hydrodynamics, phenomenology of marine domain awareness, and wind and marine energy. He has also published numerous articles in the fields of cardiovascular fluid dynamics and heart-assist devices, and explosives trace detection.

Paterson has conducted research on many aspects of surface ship and undersea vehicles; including computational fluid dynamics algorithms, unsteady viscous flow, cavitation, hydro‐acoustics, fluid‐structure interaction, turbulence modeling, maneuvering and seakeeping, and stratified wakes.

His work has contributed to new simulation tools and models for propulsor design, acoustic and non‐acoustic signatures, cyber-experiments for offshore wind turbines, and underwater missile launch.

Over the past 13 years, he has secured more than $18 million in external funding as a principal investigator or co‐principal investigator from federal agencies and from industry. With students and colleagues, he has published more than 130 peer‐reviewed journal papers, reports, and conference papers and presentations.

Paterson has won several awards, including the United Kingdom’s Royal Academy of Engineering Distinguished Visiting Fellowship for collaboration on “Tidal energy device simulation and image based meshing.” He also held a Distinguished Visiting Professor position at the University of Exeter in the United Kingdom and he was recognized by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration as a member of The Critical Path CFD Team, “for insightful, innovative research to examine the reliability of advanced CFD techniques for assessing cardiovascular device safety.”

Paterson received his bachelor’s degree, master’s degree, and doctoral degree from the University of Iowa.

Share this story