New faculty spotlight: Ping He

Ping He
Ping He

A new semester brings new people, new challenges and new opportunities to the grounds of Iowa State University (ISU). As the fall 2020 semester progresses, recently hired Department of Aerospace Engineering Assistant Professor Ping He continues to settle in.

Dr. He received his bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Sichuan University, China, in 2007. From 2007-2012, He worked on his Ph.D. in mechanical engineering at the Chinese Academy of Sciences before moving to North Carolina State University in 2013 and then the University of Michigan in 2016 to conduct post doctoral research.

In August 2020, Dr. He joined the aerospace engineering faculty at Iowa State University and says he chose Iowa State because of the reputation of the aerospace engineering department and its researchers, as well as the inter-department communication that convinced him there were great collaborative opportunities to be had.

Ping He research graphic
He’s research encompasses multidisciplinary design optimization and computational fluid dynamics that have a wide range of mechanical applications

“Before I joined the aerospace engineering department, I knew Dr. (Paul) Durbin and Dr. (Hui) Hu were top researchers in my field, and Iowa State alumni are among the top in the field. I also heard very positive feedback on Iowa State from my former colleagues at Michigan and other universities. When I did the on-campus interview, our department chair Dr. (Alric) Rothmayer did a campus tour for me, and I was impressed by the research and teaching environments at ISU.”

He’s research is focused on multidisciplinary design optimization and computational fluid dynamics. His research has an emphasis in applications, such as development of numerical algorithms and codes, and the use of them to optimize machinery, such as aircraft and turbomachinery.

Dr. He says he also came to Iowa State because he liked the feel of college towns, and though he was born in a town where it never snowed, living in Beijing gave him some experience with colder weather. None of that quite prepared him for his first impressions of Ames, as he arrived in town just after the historic derecho hit August 10, causing extensive damage to much of Iowa.

Storm photo
Ping’s official relocation to Ames and Iowa State was the same day the historic derecho left severe damage across the region.

“I regret not checking local weather before I came,” He said. “I drove from Ann Arbor to Ames on August 10 when the derecho hit Iowa. When the storm came, I was driving on the highway, just crossed the state border between Illinois and Iowa. I was pretty shocked to see multiple trucks flipped on the highway when I was driving. My friends and colleagues joked that I brought the storm. The first few days in Ames were tough—no power, no internet, no cell phone signal—but this makes me appreciate the fact that things are getting better and better every day. I believe this is the one of few impressive stories I have in my life. That aside, I am very excited to join Iowa State. So far my colleagues have been extremely helpful getting me started and everything is going pretty well.”

He’s work has been featured in 14 journals and nine conference publications, the most recent publication being “DAFoam: An open source adjoint framework for multidisciplinary design optimization with OpenFOAM,” published earlier in 2020. Find more information about He’s research.