Prof. Oran has been affiliated with the IAS since 2013. Her research achievements have been recognized by the American Physical Society, which awarded her the 2013 Fluid Dynamics Prize for her “seminal contributions to the understanding of reactive flows through computational simulations, especially the deflagration-to-detonation transition in gases and supernovae.”
Fascinated by science fiction, Oran was inspired to be a scientist at an early age. “My father was a bit shocked when I told him that I wanted to go to graduate school and study physics, which was beyond his understanding. He paused, looked aside, and then said to me, ‘I wish you good luck’,” Oran recalls.
After receiving her MPhil in Physics and PhD in Engineering and Applied Sciences from Yale University in 1968 and 1972 respectively, Oran became one of very few female scientists working in a male-dominated research environment at the US Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) in the Plasma Physics Division, and later in the Laboratory for Computational Physics. In 1988, her passion for fluid dynamics led her to become the NRL Senior Scientist for Reactive Flow Physics, responsible for theoretical and computational research on the fluid and molecular properties of complex dynamic systems.
Prof. Oran joined the faculty of the University of Maryland in 2013 as Glenn L. Martin Institute Professor of Engineering. She is also an Adjunct Professor of Aerospace Engineering at the University of Michigan and a Visiting Professor at the University of Leeds. Her research interests include reactive, compressible turbulent flows in high-speed engines and astrophysical scenarios. She is the author of over 300 refereed journal articles as well as many conference papers and presentations. She is also the co-author of the book Numerical Simulation of Reactive Flow.
Among many other prestigious awards, Oran was the recipient of the Achievement Award (2016) from the Society of Women Engineers, was inducted into the Women in Technology International Hall of Fame (2002) and received the Dryden Research Award from the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics. She is a Member of the US National Academy of Engineering and a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. As a female engineer and scientist for almost half a century, she has one piece of advice for those, particularly female students, who would like to pursue a career in engineering or science:
“Go for it!”