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Release: Immediate

UI College of Engineering to host Space Shuttle astronaut October 7-8

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- The University of Iowa College of Engineering will host a seminar by NASA astronaut/mission specialist Kalpana Chawla (cal-POWN-a CHAW-la) on engineering and the space shuttle at 4:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 8 in Shambaugh Auditorium of the UI Main Library, Washington and Madison streets.

In November 1997, Chawla served as a scientist aboard the Space Shuttle Columbia where she and her crewmates conducted an experiment designed by L.D. Chen, UI professor and chair of mechanical engineering. Chen is the principal investigator of a four-year, $490,000 NASA-funded project to design jet engines to burn cleaner and more reliably. The investigation, called ELF (for Enclosed Laminar Flames), may one day help prevent flame-out in jet engines and could also lead to more stable flames in gas fireplaces and furnaces.

Chawla's UI visit primarily concerns an ELF debriefing session she will hold with Chen and project co-principal investigators Dennis Stocker and John Brooker, both research scientists at NASA-Lewis Research Center in Cleveland, Ohio.

During her visit to the UI, Chawla also plans to meet with engineering students and faculty, the UI chapter of Women in Science and Engineering (WISE), and local elementary and high school students.

The Thursday, Oct. 8 talk is free and open to the public. Persons interested in obtaining further information should contact the UI Department of Mechanical Engineering at 335-5668.