Civil engineer named as Fulbright scholar Tuesday, 27 March 2018

Defence Science and Technology (DST) Group has announced Dr William Schonberg as its new Fulbright Distinguished Chair in Advanced Science and Technology.

The Melbourne-based government advisory agency has revealed that the professor of civil, architectural and environmental engineering from the Missouri University of Science and Technology (MS&T) will take up the post from January 2019.

As DST Group‘s role is to provide expert impartial advice and innovative solutions on defence and national security, Dr Schonberg’s Fulbright research will aim to develop mathematical models to more accurately predict how bridges, buildings and other structures can withstand a physical attack.

Dr Schonberg said he also hopes to be a cultural ambassador during his time in Australia, highlighting communication and engineering practice.

“By working abroad, I can help my students become more aware of how even subtle differences in culture and society can affect international communication and the practice of engineering,” he said.

Dr Schonberg’s appointment includes a national speaking tour and, during his tenure, he will also explore longer-term collaboration and new links with Australian institutions.

The professor has more than 30 years teaching and research experience in shock physics, spacecraft protection, hypervelocity impact, and penetration mechanics. Dr Schonberg is also a fellow of the American Society of Civil Engineers and the American Society of Mechanical Engineers.

“His research has been applied to a wide variety of engineering problems, including the development of orbital debris protection systems for spacecraft in low Earth orbit, kinetic energy weapons, the collapse of buildings under explosive loads, insensitive munitions and ageing aircraft,” MS&T said.

DST sponsors the highly prestigious post of Distinguished Chair, which brings a senior US researcher to Australia to work on a specific research project for 4-5 months in a priority area for the agency. The Distinguished Chair in Advanced Science and Technology is one of only two programs in Australia, and one of only 40 Fulbright Distinguished Chairs around the world.