Michael von Spakovsky, professor of mechanical engineering at Virginia Tech, will receive the 2014 American Society of Mechanical Engineers James Harry Potter Gold Medal in Montreal, Nov. 17.

The award, established in 1980 in honor of James H. Potter, recognizes eminent achievement or distinguished service in the science of thermodynamics and its application in mechanical engineering. The basis of the award includes contributions involving the teaching, appreciation, or utilization of thermodynamic principles in research, development, and design in mechanical engineering.

A few of von Spakovsky's research interests include approaches for the integrated synthesis, design, operation, and control of stationary energy and high performance aircraft systems, developing the science of thermal system behavior and applying it to, for example, the prediction of the dynamic behavior of micro-scale systems such as the those that form the building blocks for fuel cell power or cogeneration devices.

Together with Charles E. Smith, a postdoctoral associate in the department of biomedical engineering, von Spakovsky won the 2012 ASME Edward F. Obert Award with their winning paper titled, "Comparison of the non-equilibrium predictions of Intrinsic Quantum Thermodynamics at the atomistic level with experimental evidence."

Von Spakovsky is the former editor-in-chief (11 year tenure) of the International Journal of Thermodynamics, and associate editor of the ASME Journal of Fuel Cell Science and Technology. He joined the Virginia Tech faculty in 1997, and serves as director of the Virginia Tech's Center for Energy Systems Research.

He earned his bachelor's degree from Auburn University, and a master's degree and doctoral degree from the Georgia Institute of Technology.

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