Mary F. Wheeler, Professor

The University of Texas at Austin
Ernest and Virginia Cockrell Chair in Engineering
Professor: Aerospace Engineering and Engineering Mechanics; and Petroleum and Geosystems engineering
Director: ICES Center for Subsurface Modeling

Dr. Mary Wheeler

Mary Fanett Wheeler is a world-renowned expert in computational science. She has been a member of the faculty at The University of Texas at Austin since 1995 and holds the Ernest and Virginia Cockrell Chair in the departments of Aerospace Engineering and Engineering Mechanics, and Petroleum and Geosystems Engineering. She is also director of the Center for Subsurface Modeling (CSM) at the Institute for Computational Engineering and Sciences (ICES). Before joining the faculty at UT Austin, Dr. Wheeler was the Noah Harding Professor in engineering at Rice University in Houston, Texas, and was in fact the first tenured female associate and full professor.

Dr. Wheeler's research group employs computer simulations to model the behavior of fluids in geological formations. Her particular research interests include numerical solution of partial differential systems with application to the modeling of subsurface flows and parallel computation. Applications of her research include multiphase flow and geomechanics in reservoir engineering, contaminant transport in groundwater, sequestration of carbon in geological formations, and angiogenesis in biomedical engineering. Dr. Wheeler has published more than 300 technical papers and edited seven books; she is currently an editor of five technical journals.

It should be noted that Dr. Wheeler co-authored the first papers on modeling flow and transport in porous media using DG and/or mixed finite element methods, as well as co-authored two papers (one with Tom Russell and one with Alan Weiser) demonstrating the first proofs on convergence of cell-centered finite differences on non-uniform mesh.

Dr. Wheeler is a member of the Society of Industrial and Applied Mathematics and the Society of Petroleum Engineers. She is a fellow of the International Association for Computational Mechanics, and is a certified professional engineer in Texas. She was co-organizer of the SIAM Activity Group in the Geosciences, and alongside Dr. Hans van Duijn, started the "Journal on Computational Geosciences."

Currently Dr. Wheeler serves on the board of governors for Argonne National Laboratory and on the advisory committees for Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and CASL. In addition she serves as associate director of CFSES, a DOE ERFC Center.

In 1998, Dr. Wheeler was elected to the National Academy of Engineering. In 2006, she received an honorary doctorate from Technische Universiteit Eindhoven in the Netherlands. In 2008, she received an honorary doctorate from the Colorado School of Mines. In 2009, Wheeler was honored with the SIAM Geosciences Career Prize, election as a SIAM Fellow, and the SIAM Theodore von Kàrmàn Prize. In 2010, she was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and in 2011 she received a Humboldt award.

In February 2013, Dr. Wheeler was selected to receive the Lifetime Achievement Award of the International Society for Porous Media, InterPore. The award is given in recognition of her achievements in the area of subsurface flow and contaminant transport, and in recognition of her great contribution in increasing the visibility, credibility and prestige of porous media research. In May 2013, Dr. Wheeler received the John von Neumann Medal award from the Unites States Association for Computational Mechanics (USACM). It is the highest award given by USACM to honor individuals who have made outstanding, sustained contributions in the field of computational mechanics over substantial portions of their professional careers. She became the first woman to receive the medal in its 23-year history.

In 2014, Dr. Wheeler was named a Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE) Honorary Member, the organization's highest honor. This prestigious title is limited to 0.1 percent of the SPE total membership. This elite group represents individuals who have given outstanding service to SPE or have demonstrated distinguished scientific or engineering achievements in the fields within the technical scope of SPE.

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Last updated July 28, 2016