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A 1973 Roosevelt graduate, Robert Lucht studied nuclear engineering and graduated with Highest Honors from Purdue University. He received a National Science Foundation fellowship for his graduate studies. After receiving a doctorate in mechanical engineering from Purdue, he joined Sandia National Laboratories. Lucht was a member of the mechanical engineering faculty at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and at Texas A&M University before being named the Ralph and Bettye Bailey Professor of Combustion in Mechanical Engineering at Purdue in 2002. He heads Purdue's Applied Laser Spectroscopy Laboratory, and his research centers on the development and application of advanced laser diagnostic techniques. Lucht has written or co-authored more than 140 refereed articles. He has been elected a Fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, the Optical Society of America and the American Society of Mechanical Engineers. He was the recipient of the 2013 Excellence in Research Award from the College of Engineering at Purdue University.