Arlington, Va. — On October 30, 2007, Chief of Naval Research Rear Admiral William Landay III and the Office of Naval Research (ONR) honored Dr. Michael F. Shlesinger as the 2006 recipient of the Dr. Fred E. Saalfeld Award for Outstanding Lifetime Achievement in Science at a ceremony at ONR´s headquarters in Arlington, Va.
Shlesinger, of the Office of Naval Research´s Physical Sciences Division, was recognized for being a strong force in fostering research in nonlinear dynamics with applications to shipborne crane control; jet engine flameout prevention; secure communications; new magnetic, electric, and electromagnetic sensors for force protection; high-power laser arrays for communications, and chaotic logic gate arrays for a novel computing paradigm.
"It´s like trying to describe ´the characteristic salary´ or the ´characteristic annual rainfall´ in America," Shlesinger explained when asked to describe his mathematical work. In such cases, single numbers such as averages are less informative than the distribution values over time, area, population, or other relevant factors.
Shlesinger began his career at the Office of Naval Research when he joined the ONR Physics Division in 1983. In 1986 he became the division´s director. He later created the division´s nonlinear dynamics program and has co-managed joint ONR programs in oceanography, mathematics, engineering, and neuroscience. He became ONR´s chief scientist for nonlinear science in 1995.
At present, Shlesinger is the research division director in the Expeditionary Maneuver Warfare and Combating Terrorism Department where he still manages the nonlinear dynamics program and is also co-manager of ONR´s counter-IED program.
Shlesinger is a fellow of the American Physical Society and has published nearly 200 scientific papers, more than 150 of these since joining ONR. His work has twice been chosen for the cover article of Physics Today. He is the founding editor of the journal Fractals. He received his Ph.D. and M.A. in physics from the University of Rochester in 1975 and 1972, respectively, and received B.S. degrees in physics and mathematics from the State University of New York Stony Brook in 1970.
The Dr. Fred E. Saalfeld Award recognizes the significant lifetime achievements in science by individuals who are civilian employees with the Department of the Navy, members of the military service on active duty, or grantees or contractors funded by the Department of the Navy. The award consists of a plaque, a certificate, and $7,500 (for government civilians or military personnel).