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SHTC 2023 > Program > Symposium in Memory of Professor Darrell Pepper

Symposium in Memory of Professor Darrell Pepper

In Memory of our dear friend and colleague,
Professor Darrell W. Pepper
Professor of Mechanical Engineering
University of Nevada Las Vegas
Las Vegas, NV

Darrell earned his degrees in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Missouri, Rolla where he received a Doctorate in Mechanical Engineering in 1973, a Master’s degree in Aerospace Engineering 1970, and Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering in 1968. In 1968 Darrell was commissioned 2nd Lt. US Army (Corp. of Engineers) and from 1974 to 1976 was a Captain in the US Army Reserves.

Dr. Pepper was not only active in the field of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, but also in field of Atmospheric Sciences over his long and robust career.

Professor Pepper began his career in teaching early, starting as an adjunct and lecturer while working at E. I. DuPont de Nemours. He taught at University of South Carolina and School and Georgia Institute of Technology. He moved to California from Akin, S.C. where he was Professor of Mechanical Engineering at California State University – Northridge, before joining the faculty at UNLV.

During Darrell's early teaching career, he worked at the Savannah River Laboratory for 13 years starting in 1974 for E. I. DuPont de Nemours. Here he provided research and guidance in many areas including Heat Transfer and Hydrodynamics, Atmospheric Sciences/Meteorology, Computational Sciences, and acted in the capacity of Dupont’s Savannah River Laboratory Long Range Planning and Professional and University Relations.

After leaving Dupont, Professor Pepper, became the Chief Scientist for the Marquardt Company in Van Nuys, CA, and was also the co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of Advanced Projects Research, Inc. in Moorpark, CA. In these endeavors he worked in the development and implementation of computational methods and computer codes for solving fluid dynamics, heat transfer, propulsion, and environmental problems; developed a set of fast hybrid finite element codes for calculating supersonic and hypersonic flows including working on the National Aerospace Plane Program where he gave briefing to President Reagan’s Science Advisor on application of CFD for aerospace vehicle design.

Darrell noticed that UNLV had just obtained a Cray YM-P supercomputer at the new National Supercomputing Center for Energy and the Environment sponsored by the Department of Energy. Darrell became a professor on Mechanical Engineering at UNLV in 1992 where he founded and directed the Nevada Center of Advanced Computational Methods. In addition, while at UNLV, Professor Pepper served as Director of Engineering for the High-Pressure Science and Engineering Center; Associate Director, Center for Mechanical & Environment Systems Technology; served as Chairman of Mechanical Engineering Department for 6 years, and Interim Dean for the College of Engineering. Darrell's entrepreneurial efforts during this time at UNLV included being co-founder and Director of Engineering for Alexander Energy Resources International (AERI) in Chicago, and Founder and Executive Vice President of Nevada Energy and Environmental Systems in Las Vegas.

During Darrell's work at UNLV, he also served as the ASME Congressional Fellow in the US Congress where he was senior advisor and staff member in Senator Feinstein’s office, on issues dealing with perchlorate dispersion, high-performance computing, engineering, environment, aerospace, renewable energy, and related science programs. Interacted with energy and natural resources committee members, environment and public works committee of the U.S. Senate, various staff members in the House and other Senate offices, and administration in DOE, DOD, EPA, NIST, NOAA, and NASA. On a couple of occasions during summer months, he was an AWU Visiting Professor at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Division of Atmospheric Sciences, and at Idaho National Engineering Laboratory in Idaho Falls. Darrell also served as Distinguished Visiting Professor of Engineering Mechanics at the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs where he spent a few summers collaborating with the cadets, and U.S. Air Force Summer Faculty Fellowship Program. As director of the Nevada Center for Advanced Computational Methods he maintained a high level of research activity in areas including atmospheric dispersion, groundwater transport, stockpile stewardship, renewable energy, and aerodynamics.

Professor Pepper has organized, co-organized and helped sponsor many conferences. Of which many in where in Las Vegas, where he would always mention, "more people visit Las Vegas than they do Mecca." Darrell secretly served on the Las Vegas board of tourism? Darrell was highly involved and instrumental in founding of the American Society of Thermal and Fluids Engineering and helped organize ASTFE conferences. He participated and helped organize conferences for the International Centre for of Heat and Mass Transfer, Wessex Institute of Technology, International Conference on Computational & Experimental Engineering and Sciences, ASME, AIAA, and many more.

Darrell was proud of his service to ABET Engineering Accreditation Commission, where he served many years not only a member but also as Commissioner.

Darrell Pepper was Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Computational Thermal Sciences; Editor for the AIAA journal of Thermal Physics and Heat Transfer; Co-Editor, CRC Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Series; Associate Editor, ASME J. Heat Transfer; Editor, Journal of Thermodynamics; Editor, Multiphysics Modeling (book series / CRC Press) ; Editor, Thermopedia; Associate Editor, Computational Thermal Sciences; Associate Editor, Journal of Heat Transfer; Board of Directors, Nevada Aerospace Hall of Fame; Member, Cosmos Club, Washington, DC; Board of Directors, Arthur C. Clarke Foundation; Board of Directors, Falcon Nano; Chair, Board of Advisors, PureSense, Inc.; Board of Directors, NanoXM, Inc.; Secretary, Board of Directors, National Center for Energy Management and Building Technology; Member ASME Board of Government Relations; Member of the Baldrige National Quality Award Board of Examiners; Member of the Editorial Board, Computer Modeling in Engineering & Sciences; Member of the Board of Mistral, Inc. (a wind energy company); Member Civilian Military Council, Nellis AFB; Fellow Nevada Technology Council; Founding Member Nevada Aviation and Aerospace Foundation; Member, 40th Astronaut Reunion Task Force; Member, VentureStar Task Force for State of Nevada; Founding Member Int. Society Computational Eng. and Sci.; Member, DOE Community Advisory Board for Nevada Test Site; ABET Reviewer for Mechanical Engineering programs; Member, ASME Task Force to investigate NASP (at request of US Congress); Associate Editor of the AIAA J. Thermophysics and Heat Transfer; Member of the Editorial Board of J. Numerical Heat Transfer; Member of the NRC Assessment Team for Plutonium Fuel Fabrication Facilities; and lastly where Darrell appears to get his prolific tendency for writing, Managing Editor of University of Mo. - Rolla newspaper.

Darrell Pepper has over 350 journal publications, over 150 reviewed conference proceedings. Dr. Pepper co-authored 4 textbooks on the Finite Element Method, co-authored a book on Indoor Air Pollution Modeling, and a book on Finite Element, Boundary Element, and Meshless Methods. In addition, he provided editorship on numerous other books. Professor Pepper produced over 10 invited chapters ranging in subjects from hypersonic and areas of environmental flow, to different numerical methods for solutions of heat and mass transfer.

Professor Pepper was recognized by his efforts; he received among many awards the following: George Westinghouse Medal; AIAA Energy Systems Award; AIAA Sustained Service Award; College of Engineering Distinguished Scholar Award; Nominated for ENI 2011 Award; Harry Reid Silver State Award; Elected to Academy of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineers, MS&T; Eric Reissner Medal (ICCES); American Men and Women of Science, 21st Ed.; Tau Beta Pi Distinguished Researcher; Certificate of Appreciation, Heat Transfer Division, ASME K-20 Committee; Barrick Distinguished Scholar Award; Distinguished Scholar Award College of Engineering; Fellowships American Western Universities; Outstanding Faculty Member, Regents of UCCSN; Nominated for Discovery Award for Environmental Software; Special Incentive Award for Outstanding Performance from E. I. DuPont de Nemours; Outstanding Young Men of America; Fellowship National Science Foundation; First Honors Award Pi Tau Sigma.

Professor Pepper was a consultant for over 20 companies and laboratories, including: MasPar Computer Corp.; Applied Graphics Systems, Inc.; American Gas Association Laboratories; E. I. DuPont de Nemours; Westinghouse; Alliant Computer Corp.; Dept. of Energy; Nuclear Regulatory Commission; Rockwell International Rocky Flats; Los Alamos National Laboratory and Argonne National Laboratory.

Professor Pepper participated in many other organizations, including:

  • Life Fellow of ASME
  • Fellow of the Royal Aeronautical Society, FRAeS
  • Associate Fellow AIAA
  • Fellow of Wessex Institute of Technology
  • Member Sigma Xi
  • Member ASEE
  • Member USACM
  • Member SIAM
  • Community: Board of Directors - United Way, Aiken County; Community Playhouse

Darrell W. Pepper as selected to be a Sigma Xi Distinguished Lecturer. He provided the engineering community with more than 50 invited lectures including at National Laboratories, and at universities and companies worldwide. Where he would often visit and collaborate with colleagues there during the summer months.

Darrell left his mark on the world, on the world of engineering, an extraordinary legacy of work he so enjoyed pursuing with all his friends, colleagues, and co-workers. Many are very grateful to have met, been taught by, and worked with Darrell, beyond words, and we will feel his loss in the world. Though he did leave behind a large path for us to follow with the help of all his friends.

Professor Pepper was preceded in death by his beloved wife Jeannie. He is survived by his son Erik and his wife Pandora.

Darrell leaves behind a humble effort (not so as the above attests-ha), but he was a humble and kind man; a very knowledgeable and calm person who cared greatly for the success of his students. If he had a few more years of effort on this earth, he would have probably figured out how to navigate the stars in reasonable time. He was quite involved in the efforts for crewed missions to Mars, for which NASA is now well on the way to considering. Some of his favorite works was his method of moments, and development of a recursive stencils method for FEM which is naturally vectorized, solved with tri, penta, septa and nona-diagonal solvers depending on the formulation, and well suited for GPU’s which he thought of long before GPU’s were in NVIDA's bally wig. Knowing how difficult computational mesh creation he is desired to leave meshing behind and researched the meshless methods. Darrell's given to each of us, and is out there in sprite, waiting for us to catch-up.