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News Archive 2001 - 2010

Engineering Professor Retires After 33 years at UTA

September 5, 2002

Fred R. Payne, a professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering, spent his last official day at The University of Texas at Arlington on Friday, September 6.

Payne began his career as a college professor in 1969, joining UTA after a brief stint at General Dynamics in Fort Worth. Before that he spent 15 years in the US Air Force as an instructor pilot for fighter aircraft, logging more than 3,000 accident-free hours of flight. Beginning in 1970, he taught graduate-level courses in boundary layer theory and turbulent flow, and then began teaching statics on the freshman level in 1994.

Among his many accomplishments, Professor Payne is noted for his 1980 invention of a differential equation solver that increased the speed, sometimes by a factor of 50, and accuracy of reaching solutions. He has used his method in more than 60 courses and has presented papers on it around the globe. He also is the developer of a series of international conferences on integral methods in science and engineering, encouraging scientists and researchers in different disciplines to use the same methodologies in their studies. A few years after he arrived at UTA, Payne organized the founding of the UTA chapter of Sigma Gamma Tau, the aerospace engineering honor society, and served as the chapter’s faculty advisor until this semester.

Payne is retiring, but he won’t be inactive. “I’ve completed about 60 percent of a book I’m writing on numerical solutions to differential equations,” he said. Payne is familiar with the publishing trade; he wrote reviews of about 150 books for an engineering magazine. “In addition to working on the book, I’ll keep my brain busy by playing video games and playing chess by mail.”

Professor Don Wilson, chair of the Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering Department, considers Payne a valuable member of the department. “He was instrumental in the early development of the aerospace engineering program,” said Wilson, “and he initiated the Graduate Seminar in Aerospace Engineering, which taught countless AE graduate students the proper way to give technical presentations. He will be sorely missed.”