Jacqueline O'Connor wins international award from Combustion Institute

April 11, 2023

By Lauren Colvin

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Jacqueline O'Connor, associate professor of mechanical engineering and director of the Center for Gas Turbine Research, Education, and Outreach at Penn State, is a recipient of The Combustion Institute’s 2023 Hiroshi Tsuji Early Career Researcher Award.  

According to The Combustion Institute, the Hiroshi Tsuji Early Career Researcher Award recognizes up to two early career researchers who demonstrate “excellence in fundamental or applied combustion science and have achieved a significant advancement in their field within four to ten years of completing a doctoral degree or equivalent.” The award and prize of $10,000 is given annually.  

“Dr. O’Connor leads an internationally recognized research program in the field of thermoacoustic combustion instability,” said Mary Frecker, department head and professor of mechanical engineering, Riess Chair of Engineering and director of the Penn State Center for Biodevices. “This award is a wonderful recognition of her leadership in the field.” 

In addition to directing the Center for Gas Turbine Research, Education, and Outreach, O’Connor leads the Reacting Flow Dynamics Laboratory. O’Connor’s research focuses on renewable fuels and instabilities in combustion technologies like aircraft engines, power-generation gas turbines, boilers and diesel engines. The lab collaborates with international researchers and industry partners to form links between fundamental research and industry applications. By learning about the damaging instabilities in combustion technologies, O’Connor and her team aim to make combustion technologies cleaner and more reliable.  

“Combustion is an important part of society, and it will be far into the future,” O’Connor said. “In our research, we’re working on ways to use the fuels we have more efficiently and get the technologies of today ready for the fuels of tomorrow, which will be low-carbon fuels.” 

O’Connor will be formally presented with the award during a ceremony at the 40th International Symposium on Combustion in Milan, Italy.   

The award is named after Professor Hiroshi Tsuji, whose research has influenced fundamental studies and applications in laminar and turbulent combustion. The award is co-sponsored by Elsevier, a world-leading provider of information solutions that enhance the performance of science, health, and technology professionals, and The Combustion Institute, an international non-profit, educational and scientific society that promotes and disseminates research activities in all areas of combustion science and technology. 

“I am deeply honored to be recognized by The Combustion Institute community with the Hiroshi Tsuji Early Career Research Award,” O’Connor said. “I am very proud to be part of such a vibrant and supportive technical community. I’m also very grateful to my students and collaborators who have made our work possible.” 


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