Michael F. Modest, Ph.D., distinguished professor emeritus of mechanical engineering at the University of California, Merced, is honored for pioneering and impactful contributions in the fields of radiative heat transfer and the laser machining of ceramics, for excellence in educating and training future generations of engineers and scientists, and for dedicated service to the profession.
After earning his Dipl.-Ing. degree from the Technical University in Munich in 1968, Dr. Modest came to the United States. He earned his master’s degree and Ph.D. in mechanical engineering from the University of California, Berkeley in 1972. For several years he taught at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and the University of Southern California, followed by 24 years as a professor of mechanical engineering at The Pennsylvania State University. He retired from Penn State in 2009 with the title of distinguished professor emeritus and joined UC Merced, where he was the Shaffer and George distinguished professor of engineering. He retired from UC Merced in 2017.
Dr. Modest has made important contributions in all areas of radiative heat transfer (measurement of surface, liquid and gas properties; theoretical modeling for surface transport and within participating media) as well as in the field of laser processing of materials. He is perhaps best known for his work on thermal radiation in combustion systems. Dr. Modest is the author of Radiative Heat Transfer. Now in its third edition, it is the most widely used textbook in the field. He has authored or co-authored more than 350 refereed publications including 10 book chapters and many keynote and invited papers.
An ASME Fellow, Dr. Modest has served the Heat Transfer Division in various capacities since 1975. He received the Society’s Heat Transfer Memorial Award (Art) in 2005 and a 75th Anniversary Award from the Division in 2013.
Video profile produced and written by Roger Torda, ASME Public Information.
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