Solomon Earns University of Idaho Honors
Emeritus Prof. and former AE Department Head Wayne Solomon, best known for innovative research efforts in propulsion and high-energy lasers, has been inducted into the Alumni Hall of Fame at the University of Idaho.
Solomon earned a bachelor’s degree in chemistry at the University of Idaho in 1955, followed by a PhD in chemistry in 1963 from the University of Oregon.
His expansive career in aerospace started in the 1960s with propulsion research at the Air Force Rocket Propulsion Laboratory at Edwards Air Force Base in California. He subsequently served as a visiting professor at Germany’s University of Goettingen for two years. In the 70’s and 80’s, he and a team of scientists conducted major research and design programs for chemical lasers and laser radar devices. After a stint in the U.S. Air Force, Solomon joined Bell Aerospace Textron as director of High-Energy Laser Systems and, later, director for Advanced Systems.
From there, he joined AE as professor and head from 1988 to 1999. He gained emeritus status in 2002. During Solomon’s tenure, AE at Illinois gained national prominence for research on aerodynamics, lasers, structures and space systems. Solomon also oversaw a graduate education program for McDonnell Douglas, now Boeing, in St. Louis.
Additionally, he organized and received NASA support for the Illinois Space Consortium and served as its director from 1991 until 2004. This NASA-sponsored research and education program reaches students from elementary to Ph.D. levels within institutions across the state of Illinois.
Since 1998 Solomon has chaired CU Aerospace LLC, an aerospace research firm in Urbana-Champaign, Illinois. The successful company works closely with several universities to evolve aerospace research and provides the development expertise to commercialize aerospace innovations in the laser, electric propulsion and micro- satellites areas.
A fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astrodynamics, he has authored more than 200 research articles and conference proceedings. His research has been sponsored by number federal agencies.