Elaine Oran

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Elaine Surick Oran
20131016 Elaine Oran 10a.jpg
Elaine S. Oran, Aerospace Engineering, University of Maryland at College Park. Photograph by Alan P. Santos.
Born (1946-04-16) April 16, 1946 (age 74)
NationalityUnited States
Alma materBryn Mawr College
Yale University
Spouse(s)Daniel Oran
AwardsFluid Dynamics Prize (APS), 2013
Scientific career
FieldsComputational physics, Explosions, Propulsion, Turbulence, Astrophysics
InstitutionsTexas A&M University
University of Maryland
U.S. Naval Research Laboratory
External video
video icon Dr. Elaine S. Oran: WITI Hall of Fame 2002 Induction Video, Women In Technology International

Elaine Surick Oran is an American physical scientist and is considered a world authority on numerical methods for large-scale simulation of physical systems.[1] She has pioneered computational technology for the solution of complex reactive flow problems, unifying concepts from science, mathematics, engineering and computer science in a new methodology.[2] An incredibly diverse range of phenomena can be modeled and better understood using her techniques for numerical simulation of fluid flows, ranging from the tightly-grouped movements of fish in Earth's oceans to the explosions of far-flung supernovae in space.[3] Her work has contributed significantly to the advancement of the engineering profession.[3]


Elaine Surick is the daughter of Herman E. Surick and step-daughter of Doris Luterman-Surick. She is married to Daniel Oran.[4]

Elaine Surick attended school in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.[5] Bryn Mawr College awarded her a bachelor's degree in both Physics and Chemistry (1966). She then attended Yale University, where she received a Masters from the Department of Physics (1968) and a Ph.D. from the Department of Engineering and Applied Sciences (1972).[3]

U.S. Naval Research Lab[edit]

Elaine Oran joined the Plasma Physics Division at United States Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) in 1972.[6][3] In 1978, she joined the Laboratory for Computational Physics.[6] She worked to start the Center for Reactive Flow and Dynamical Systems, and became its head.[5] In 1988, she became the Senior Scientist for Reactive Flow Physics.[6][5]

She has done significant theoretical and computational research on the fluid and molecular properties of complex dynamic systems. Her team has created many of the numerical algorithms and computerized models used for accurate numerical simulation of reactive flows. Because reactive flows occur in a broad range of important phenomena, Dr. Oran's work has enabled other investigators to examine and describe many previously unexplained reactive flow dynamics.[1]

Reactive flows can involve gases, liquids, and solids, or combinations thereof. As these move through space and over time, they may change chemically.[2] Reactive flow problems often involve multiple processes interacting simultaneously. Identifying the boundary conditions where states of matter react, and the ways in which they interact, is important in modelling reactive flows. Physical processes involved in reactive flows include species reactions, diffusive transport, radiative transport, convection, and wave-like properties, some or all of which may be modeled to address a particular problem. Modelling of complex reactive flows has applications in a wide variety of areas including aerodynamics, hydrodynamics, microfluidics, chemical kinetics, chemical process modeling (involving advective and diffusive transport processes as well as chemical kinetics) and combustion-related flame and detonation phenomena.[7]

Reactive flow modeling can be applied to solar and stellar astrophysics to study novae, star formation, and cosmology. It can model mixing in earth's atmosphere, rarefied gas flow during atmospheric reentry, torpedo launches in the earth's oceans, the spread of fires in cities and forests, and the behavior of car engines and chemical lasers.[3][7]

At the Naval Research Lab, Dr. Oran has applied simulation methods to a wide variety of issues. She has helped to design biosensors, propulsion systems for rockets and jets, and space and planetary exploration vehicles. She has studied the basic physics of combustion processes, applying flow models to flames, detonations, and the conditions underlying transition to denotation. Her work has supported the safe storage of hydrogen fuels and other energetic materials.[1]

Aerospace engineering[edit]

She is currently a Professor at Texas A&M University. She had worked the Department of Aerospace Engineering at the University of Maryland, as a Glenn L. Martin Institute Professor of Engineering from 2013 to 2019. She continues to serve as an Emeritus Scientist at the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory, and is an Adjunct Professor at the University of Michigan and a Visiting Professor at Leeds University.[8] She is also a Senior Visiting Professor in the Institute for Advanced Study at Hong Kong University of Science and Technology and a Distinguished Visiting Professor at Tsinghua University.


She has published extensively in journals, and has written a textbook, Numerical Simulation of Reactive Flow (1987, 2005), which is reported to be the most frequently used textbook on the topic.[1]

Awards and honors[edit]

Among many other awards and honors, Elaine Oran is an Honorary Fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA), "the highest distinction conferred by AIAA, … granted to preeminent individuals who have had long and highly contributory careers in aerospace, and embody the highest possible standards in aeronautics and astronautics."[8] She is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, National Academy of Engineering and an inaugural Fellow of The Combustion Institute.[9][10][11]

Other awards, honors, and honorary memberships include, but are not limited to, the following:


Honorary degrees[edit]



  1. ^ a b c d e "Dr. Elaine Oran Receives Society of Women Engineers Achievement Award". NRL News Release. Naval Research Laboratory (NRL). 22 December 2006. Retrieved 19 October 2014.
  2. ^ a b c "Dr. Elaine Oran Receives Presidential Rank Award for Distinguished Senior Professional". NRL News Release. Naval Research Laboratory (NRL). 3 April 2008. Retrieved 19 October 2014.
  3. ^ a b c d e f Spector, Barbara (February 2007). "Using Computers to Explore the Universe". Science and Technology. Bryn Mawr College. Archived from the original on 27 May 2015. Retrieved 18 October 2014.
  4. ^ "Obituary, Doris M. (Manstein) Luterman-Surick". Philly.com. Retrieved 19 October 2014.
  5. ^ a b c d e "Elaine Oran". University of Leeds. Archived from the original on 22 October 2014. Retrieved 15 October 2014.
  6. ^ a b c "Elaine Oran". U.Sc. Viterbi School of Engineering. Archived from the original on 26 November 2014. Retrieved 3 December 2014.
  7. ^ a b Oran, Elaine S.; Boris, Jay P. (2005). Numerical simulation of reactive flow (2nd ed.). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-02236-1.
  8. ^ a b c "Aerospace Department Welcomes New Faculty Member Elaine Oran". University of Maryland. Department of Aerospace Engineering. Retrieved 19 October 2014.
  9. ^ a b "Elaine Oran Elected to American Academy of Arts and Sciences". University of Maryland.
  10. ^ a b "NAE Members: Dr. Elaine S. Oran". National Academy of Engineering. Retrieved 19 October 2014.
  11. ^ a b "Fellows of the combustion institute". International Combustion Institute.
  12. ^ Koning, Patti (September 22, 2014). "35th International Combustion Symposium a Resounding Success". Retrieved 20 February 2015.
  13. ^ a b "Oran Receives APS 2013 Fluid Dynamics Prize". University of Maryland. Department of Aerospace Engineering. November 18, 2013. Retrieved 18 October 2014.
  14. ^ "Dryden Lectureship in Research Award Recipients". American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics. Archived from the original on 28 March 2018. Retrieved 20 February 2015.
  15. ^ "Dr. Elaine Oran". WITI Hall of Fame. witi. Retrieved 15 October 2014.
  16. ^ "S&T Briefs: Hall of Fame I". Science and Technology. Bryn Mawr College. July 2002. Archived from the original on 23 September 2015. Retrieved 18 October 2014.
  17. ^ "Dr. Elaine Oran Receives Ya B. Zeldovich Gold Medal". U.S. Naval Research Laboratory. 2000-09-21. Retrieved 20 February 2015.
  18. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "Oran, Elaine S." Department of Aerospace Engineering. Retrieved 19 October 2014.
  19. ^ "Flemming Award Recipients 1948-2006". George Washington University. Retrieved 19 February 2015.
  20. ^ "Elaine Surick Oran '66 to Receive Honorary Doctorate". Bryn Mawr College. March 26, 2010. Retrieved 18 October 2014.
  21. ^ "Official opening of Centrale Lyon 150th anniversary". Ecole Centrale Lyon. 2006. Archived from the original on 22 October 2014. Retrieved 18 October 2014.
  22. ^ "Oran Recognized with Honorary Doctorate from the Institut National des Sciences Appliquées Rouen". University of Maryland. Retrieved 25 March 2015.
  23. ^ "CHR Members". National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine.
  24. ^ "APS Fellowship". APS Physics. American Physical Society. Division of Computational Physics. 2014. Retrieved 18 October 2014.