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Paul David Ronney

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Professor of Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering


  • Doctoral Degree, Aerospace Engineer, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • Master's Degree, Aerospace Engineer, California Institute of Technology
  • Bachelor's Degree, Mechanical Engineering, University of California - Berkeley


Paul D. Ronney is a Professor in the Department of Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, CA. Prof. Ronney received a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of California, Berkeley, a Master of Science degree in Aeronautics from the California Institute of Technology, and a Doctor of Science degree in Aeronautics and Astronautics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He held postdoctoral appointments at the NASA Lewis (now Glenn) Research Center and the Laboratory for Computational Physics at the U. S. Naval Research Laboratory and a position as Assistant Professor in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at Princeton University before assuming his current position at USC. Prof. Ronney was the Payload Specialist Astronaut (Alternate) for Space Shuttle mission MSL-1 (STS-83, April 4 - 8, 1997) and the reflight of this mission (STS-94, July 1 - 16, 1997).

Professor Ronney has extensive research experience in small-scale combustion and power generation, turbulent combustion, flame ignition by transient plasma discharges, micro-scale combustion, bioengineering (robotic insect propulsion), edge flames, flame propagation in confined geometries (Hele-Shaw cells), internal combustion engines, premixed-gas combustion at microgravity and flame spread over solid fuel beds. One of his experiments, a study of premixed-gas flames at low gravity, flew on three Space Shuttle missions.

Prof. Ronney has published over 80 technical papers in peer-reviewed journals, made over 250 technical presentations (including over 35 invited presentations at international conferences), holds 7 U.S. patents, and has received over $12 million in funding for his research projects. In recognition of his achievements, he is a Fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers and the Combustion Institute, an Associate Fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, and is a recipient of the National Science Foundation Presidential Young Investigator Award. He has received the Distinguished Paper Award from the Combustion Institute (for a work published in the Proceedings of the Combustion Institute, Vol. 37) and the Starley Premium Award of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (for the best paper of the year published in the Journal of Automobile Engineering.)

Research Summary

Combustion, micro-scale power generation and propulsion, biophysics and biofilms, turbulence, internal combustion engines and control systems, low-gravity phenomena, radiative transfer


  • 2018 Combustion Institute Fellow
  • 2014 American Society of Mechanical Engineers Fellow
  • 2013 American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics Associate Fellow
  • 2010 Defense Threat Reduction Agency Best poster award
  • 2005 First-ever recipient of the Bernard Lewis Lectureship of the Combustion Institute
  • 2005 Research Award
  • 2003 Best Paper
  • 2003 Dynamics Days Europe 2003 Best poster award
  • 1998 Fellow of Professional Society
  • 1994 Journal of Automobile Engineering Institution of Mechanical Engineers (U.K.) Starley Premium Award
  • 1990 Princeton Engineer's Council Excellence in Teaching Award
  • 1987 National Science Foundation Presidential Young Investigator
  • Department Chair, Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering
  • Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering

  • OHE 400B
  • Olin Hall of Engineering
  • 3650 McClintock Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90089
  • USC Mail Code: 1453

Contact Information
  • (213) 740-0490
  • ronney@usc.edu


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