NEW YORK, Nov. 21, 2012 — Jane H. Davidson, Ph.D., a resident of Wayzata, Minn., and professor of mechanical engineering, director of the Solar Energy Laboratory, and Ronald L. and Janet A. Christenson chair of renewable energy at the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, was honored by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME). She was recognized for significant research on solar systems for residential buildings and solar thermo chemical cycles to produce fuels; for contributions as an exemplary educator in renewable energy; and for shaping solar energy research and policies at the national and international level. She received the Society's Frank Kreith Energy Award.
The award was established in 2005 to honor an individual for significant contributions to a secure energy future with particular emphasis on innovations in conservation and/or renewable energy. Established by the Solar Energy and Advanced Energy divisions to honor Dr. Frank Kreith’s contributions to solar energy and heat transfer, it was endowed by the Kreith family. The award was presented to Dr. Davidson at the Society’s annual Honors Assembly held in conjunction with the 2012 ASME International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition, held in Houston, Nov. 9 through 15.
Before coming to the University of Minnesota in 1993, Davidson was a faculty member at the University of Delaware, Newark, and the Colorado State University, Fort Collins; and held engineering positions at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Tennessee, and the Research Triangle Institute, North Carolina.
Her current areas of research include solar systems for residential buildings and solar thermo-chemical cycles to produce fuels. In 2011, she and her colleagues inaugurated the first indoor concentrating solar simulator in the United States; it is used to test prototype solar reactors. In the conduct of her research, she has been the major advisor of 26 doctoral and 49 master’s degree students.
Davidson recently served on the National Research Council’s America’s Energy Future Renewable Electricity Panel, Governor Tim Pawlenty’s Clean Energy Technology Task Force and ASME’s Global Climate Change Task Force. She also served as an elected member of the boards of the American Solar Energy Society (ASES) and the Solar Rating and Certification Corporation.
Davidson has published more than 250 scientific papers, including over 105 articles in archival journals, and six book chapters. She has lectured worldwide in diverse venues, and has briefed Congress and state legislatures on energy issues. She served as associate editor (1992-98) and editor (2000-05) of the ASME Journal of Solar Energy Engineering.
An ASME Fellow, Davidson has held various positions in the Society, including chair of the ASME Solar Energy Division (SED). She currently serves on ASME’s Publications Committee (2012-15), and was the Society’s representative for the inaugural Carbon Management Technology Conference held in February. Since 1996, she has organized numerous SED symposiums, panels and technical paper sessions. She received an ASME Dedicated Service Award in 2003 and SED’s John I. Yellott Award in 2004. She is a member of Tau Beta Pi, the Engineering Honor Society, and Sigma Xi, the Scientific Research Society.
Davidson received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in engineering science and mechanics from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, in 1975 and 1976, respectively. She earned her Ph.D. in mechanical engineering from Duke University (Durham, N.C.) in 1984.
ASME helps the global engineering community develop solutions to real world challenges. Founded in 1880 as the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, ASME is a not-for-profit professional organization that enables collaboration, knowledge sharing and skill development across all engineering disciplines, while promoting the vital role of the engineer in society. ASME codes and standards, publications, conferences, continuing education and professional development programs provide a foundation for advancing technical knowledge and a safer world. For more information visit www.asme.org.