Zheng Hong (George) Zhu, professor and Chair in the Department of Mechanical Engineering and the inaugural academic director of the York University Research Commons, has been awarded the 2019 Engineering Medal in Research and Development from Professional Engineers Ontario (PEO), the licensing and regulating body for professional engineering in the province.
The Engineering Medal recognizes professional engineers who have improved quality of life through the ingenious application of their engineering skills. Recipients’ achievements are significantly above the normally high standards of the profession. The presentation of this award is also aimed at furthering public understanding of the professional engineer’s role in society. In the Research and Development category, the recipient is honoured for using new knowledge in developing useful, novel applications, advancing engineering knowledge or applied science, or discovering or extending any of the engineering or natural sciences.
Zhu is a Fellow of the Engineering Institute of Canada and the Canadian Society of Mechanical Engineering, and a member of the College of New Scholars, Artists & Scientists, Royal Society of Canada.
As a Tier 1 York University Research Chair in Space Technology, Zhu has made a significant impact in the aerospace industry. A major achievement is the autonomous capture and removal of space debris using a novel fuel-less propulsion technology based on electrodynamic tethers, which he went on to demonstrate in space using the CubeSat platform, with funding awarded from the Canadian Space Agency.
Beyond his remarkable track record in research publications (four book chapters and more than 200 publications) and research funding (more than $7 million, both nationally and internationally), he is a dedicated leader and mentor inside and outside of the classroom, developing new programs as Chair, leading interdisciplinary research teams, and engaging youth in the community to get more people interested in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
Zhu has several additional awards and accolades to his name, including two Natural Sciences & Engineering Research Council Discovery Accelerator Supplements Awards and a Best Paper Award from the Canadian Congress of Applied Mechanics. In 2018, with his support, Zhu’s PhD students won two Outstanding Paper Awards for Young Scientists from the Committee on Space Research and his industrial partner won the Luke Hobbs Technology & Innovation Award from Pratt & Whitney Canada, a global aerospace company.