MIT Professor Eugene E. Covert, former head of the Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics, and widely known for his significant contributions to the aerospace engineering field, has been appointed to the T. Wilson Professorship of Aeronautics.
The T. Wilson Professor of Aeronautics Chair was established at MIT by a gift from The Boeing Company in Seattle, WA. in honor of Mr. Wilson, chairman emeritus, and a graduate of the MIT Sloan School of Management.
The appointment was announced at a dinner in Seattle by Professor Earll M. Murman, head of the department. Attendees at the dinner included Mr. Wilson; Phillip Condit, president of The Boeing Company; A.D. Welliver, corporate senior vice president for engineering and technology; Paul Gray, chairman of the MIT Corporation; Joel Moses, dean of engineering at MIT, and other MIT and Boeing guests.
Professor Covert began his career in 1946 as a flight test engineer at the Naval Air Development Center. Upon his release to inactive duty, he returned there to be a design engineer. After being a research engineer at MIT's Naval Supersonic Laboratory, he was awarded the ScD degree in aeronautics and astronautics in 1958. He joined the faculty in 1963, and served as department head from 1985-1990.
Professor Covert is widely recognized for his research in unsteady aerodynamics, heat transfer, and magnetic suspension and balance systems. In addition to his continuing research, he was a member of MIT's Industrial Productivity Commission and is currently involved with the Leaders for Manufacturing Program at the Institute.
In 1972 he was appointed chief scientist of the US Air Force; in 1986, he was named to the Presidential Commission on the Space Shuttle Challenger Accident. His many professional affiliations include the US Air Force Scientific Advisory Board, for which he served as Chairman from 1982-1986. He was a member of NASA's Aeronautics Advisory Committee from 1985-1989, and of the Office of Science and Technology Policy Aeronautical Policy Review Committee from 1983-1988. He is currently a member of the National Research Council's Aeronautics and Space Engineering Board.
Professor Covert has been the recipient of such honors as the U.S. Air Force's Exceptional Civilian Service Award in 1973 and 1986, and in 1990 was named University Educator of the Year by the American Society of Aerospace Education. Other awards include the AIAA Ground Testing Award (1990), the prestigious von Karman Medal in 1990, and the W.F. Durand Lectureship of the AIAA in 1992.
A version of this article appeared in the February 24, 1993 issue of MIT Tech Talk (Volume 37, Number 23).