Angelo Miele Endowment

Jan 18, 2012 | Excellence Funds & Program Support

Originally from Italy, Miele studied at the University of Rome, where he received his Dr. Ing. in Civil Engineering and Dr. Ing. in Aeronautical Engineering. He then moved to Argentina to work on military aircraft, and quickly realized that his interest was in basic research. He began his teaching career at the School of Military Aviation of the Argentinian Air Force. Shortly after that, he moved to the United States to teach at an engineering institute in Brooklyn, and after three years, he accepted the position of Associate Professor at Purdue University.

In 1964, Miele accepted a position at Rice University as Professor of Astronautics. Later he became the A. J. Foyt Family Professor Emeritus in Mechanical Engineering. He came to Rice, attracted in part by the university’s proximity to NASA. He was hired as Professor of Astronautics, but when the university created the Mathematical Sciences Department, his title was expanded to Professor of Astronautics and Mathematical Sciences.

Professor Miele’s research dealt with flight mechanics, astrodynamics, applied aerodynamics, and optimization theory. His work at Rice included research in numerical methods, among them the development of the family of sequential gradient-restoration algorithms for mathematical programming problems and optimal control problems. It also covered the application of those algorithms to the solution of a large number of problems of atmospheric flight and space flight. These include flight in wind shear, spacecraft rendezvous, orbital transfers, and Earth-to-Moon trajectories.

In addition to teaching, Professor Miele advised some 85 graduate students working toward Ph.D. or M.S. degrees, he authored or coauthored some 200 journal papers, and he authored the textbook Flight Mechanics (Addison-Wesley, 1962) and edited the book Theory of Optimum Aerodynamic Shapes (Academic Press, 1965). Both works have been translated into Russian.

Miele served as a member of several national and international technical committees. He founded the Journal of Optimization and Applications and served as the Editor in Chief for nearly half a century. He was also the Editor of Mathematical Concepts and Methods in Science and Engineering.

Miele was an Honorary Fellow of AIAA, Fellow of AAS, and a member of the National Academy of Engineering, the Russian Academy of Science, and the International Academy of Astronautics.

In March 2016, Professor Miele passed after a three-month battle with cancer. He was one of the founding fathers of the modern fields of flight mechanics, guidance and control. He had a challenging and exciting career, and was an outstanding teacher and researcher.

Latest Stories

How to Give

Learn more at

Search Endowments

Look for inspiring stories