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John L. Junkins Bio

John L. Junkins

John L. Junkins, University Distinguished Professor of Aerospace Engineering and holder of the Royce E. Wisenbaker Chair in Innovation in Texas A&M University’s College of Engineering, is the Founding Director of the Hagler Institute for Advanced Study. Junkins wrote a proposal and led an effort to bring together the faculty and administration to launch the Institute in 2011. The Texas A&M Institute for Advanced Study was officially renamed the Hagler Institute for Advanced Study in 2017 after long-time A&M benefactor Jon C. Hagler endowed the Institute with a $20 million gift.

Junkins began his career at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration in Huntsville, Alabama, at age 19 during the Apollo program. He then time-shared graduate study with fulltime employment at McDonnell-Douglas, where he supported numerous launches of satellites aboard Delta rockets. Following previous academic appointments at the University of Virginia and Virginia Tech, he joined the Texas A&M faculty in 1985. His aerospace engineering expertise spans basic and applied research, and he performs theory, computation, and space flight experiments. Junkins recently graduated his fifty-fourth doctorate student and has spawned three generations of descendant PhD offspring. Currently he directs seven doctoral candidates and a post-doctoral researcher. He is a member of the National Academy of Engineering, the National Academy of Inventors, the International Academy of Astronautics, and he is an Honorary Fellow of the American Institute for Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA). Junkins is the author of approximately four-hundred papers and patents and eight widely used technical books. Analytical Mechanics of Aerospace Systems won the 2014 Martin Summerfield Best Book Award, given annually by AIAA. He has received more than a dozen international honors for his research contributions, including the highest honor in his field, the Robert H. Goddard Astronautics Award (2019, from AIAA). His work has attracted about 16,000 Google Scholar citations. In recognition of his successful efforts to launch and secure an endowment for the Hagler Institute, he was the recipient of the inaugural Faculty Partner in Philanthropy Award from the Texas A&M Foundation in 2016.

Junkins has served as principal investigator on more than one hundred externally funded research projects with $50 million of support from government and industry. Junkins team consults with industry and government, and his basic research results have been transitioned to support over a dozen space missions. He shares his time as a teacher, mentor, scholar, and researcher with significant University leadership service (e.g., chaired the presidential search leading to selection of Dr. Robert Gates) and national service (e.g., has chaired national studies while serving on the Air Force Scientific Advisory Board). Under his leadership, the Hagler Institute has attracted seventy eminent scholars to Texas A&M and over $35 million of endowment and gift commitments during the first eight years of operation.