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Sheila Widnall—MIT Institute Professor

Sheila Widnall talks about the "Widnall Instability"

Sheila Widnall talks about the "Widnall Instability"

From 1993 to 1997, MIT Institute Professor Sheila Widnall served as United States Secretary of the Air Force, making her the first female Secretary of the Air Force and first woman to lead an entire branch of the US military in the Department of Defense. No small feat and her other accomplishments are equally impressive. An MIT alumna and professor of aeronautics and astronautics, she became the first female on the faculty in the Department of Engineering and eventually the first woman faculty chair at MIT. She was also the first woman to serve as president of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics. Moreover, she is internationally known for her work in fluid dynamics, specifically in the areas of aircraft turbulence and spiraling airflows. When asked to name a career-defining research moment during her MIT150 Infinite History interview, Widnall talked about her work on instability. This video captures those comments and elaborates on this research that garnered her a rare namesake.

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