ICES Professor Mary Wheeler has been named a Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE) Honorary Member, the organization’s highest honor.
Wheeler, professor of petroleum and geosystems engineering, and professor or aerospace engineering and engineering mechanics, garners the prestigious title which 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.
Wheeler’s work impacts energy production through enhanced oil and gas extraction; air quality with carbon sequestration in saline aquifers; and water quality with environmental remediation in groundwater.
She has been a member of the faculty at The University of Texas at Austin since 1995, holds the Ernest and Virginia Cockrell Chair and is a professor in the departments of aerospace engineering and engineering mechanics, and petroleum and geosystems engineering. She is also director of the ICES Center for Subsurface Modeling. Before joining the faculty at UT Austin, Wheeler was the Noah Harding Professor in engineering at Rice University.
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. Wheeler has published more than 250 technical papers and edited seven books; she is currently an editor of seven technical journals.
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 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, 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 Kármán Prize. In 2010, she was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and in 2011 she received a Humboldt award. In 2013 she received the John von Neumann Medal, the highest award bestowed by the Unites States Association for Computational Mechanics and became the first woman to receive the medal in its 23-year history.