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Sheila E. Widnall ’60, SM ’61, ScD ’64

Institute Professor, 1998 - present

Professor of Aeronautics and Astronautics and of Engineering Systems, 1986 - present

Institute Professor, 1998 - present

Professor of Aeronautics and Astronautics and of Engineering Systems, 1986 - present

Sheila Widnall ’60, SM ’61, ScD ’64
Institute Professor, 1998 - present
Professor of Aeronautics and Astronautics and of Engineering Systems, 1986 - present

Sheila Widnall is an MIT Institute Professor who earned her BS, MS, and ScD in Aeronautics and Astronautics from MIT. Professor Widnall served as secretary of the US Air Force, in which role she was responsible for all Air Force affairs including training, organizing, administration, logistics, and personnel welfare. Professor Widnall cochaired the Department of Defense Task Force on Sexual Harassment and Discrimination, and she was inducted into the Women’s Hall of Fame.

Highlights of this interview include:

  • The experience of being a female student at MIT and her position as the first woman faculty in the Department of Engineering.
  • The importance of air instability and fluid dynamics connected to the Air Force.
  • Government and Air Force administration experience, as well as contact with major government officials consistently since President Carter’s administration.
  • Appointed April 2010 to the Toyota Independent North American Quality Advisory Panel formed in reaction to recent accidents to address safety.

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