Abel Bliss Professorship in Engineering

The Bliss Professor of Engineering is the result of a bequest from the late Helen Eva Bliss in memory of her father, Abel Bliss Jr. Miss Bliss graduated from the University of Illinois in 1911 with a degree in Liberal Arts and Sciences. Early in her career, she taught engineering at a Shreveport, Louisiana, high school, and later did clerical work with the Bureau of Aircraft Production in Washington, D.C. From 1936 until her retirement in 1962, she worked for the Washington law firm of Ivins, Phillips & Barker as an executive secretary.

Abel Bliss Jr., entered the University in 1872 to study civil engineering, but was forced to leave the University before completing his degree. In June of 1874, the University granted him a partial certificate in civil engineering. His business ventures included agriculture and real estate, and by 1929, he was a partner in the land development and oil production company of Bliss & Wetherbee. Mr. Bliss died in the mid-1930s. A portion of the Bliss bequest went to support the Grainger Engineering Library and Information Center Endowment as well as other projects for “advancing the scholastic activities of the School of Engineering.”


Faculty: Jonathan Makela 

Jonathan Makela
Jonathan Makela

Jonathan J.  Makela is an outstanding experimentalist, observationalist, and leader in the field of geospace. His research primarily involves the investigation of upper atmosphere variability in charged particle densities that impact the integrity of tracking, communications, surveillance, geolocation, and navigation systems. Prof. Makela and his research group develop, test, and deploy suites of sensors to sites worldwide to study both the quiet-time and storm-time behavior of the Earth’s upper atmosphere at low- and mid-latitudes.

Professor Makela received the B.S. degree (Hons.) in Electrical Engineering and the Ph.D. degree in Electrical and Computer Engineering from Cornell University in 1999 and 2003, respectively. He was a National Research Council Research Associate with the Naval Research Laboratory, Washington, DC, USA, from 2002 to 2004. After that, he joined the faculty of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign (UIUC), Urbana, IL, USA, where he is currently a Professor in Electrical and Computer Engineering and Associate Dean of The Grainger College of Engineering for Undergraduate Programs. He is also affiliated with the Coordinated Science Laboratory. In addition, Makela is a member of the American Geophysical Union, the International Union of Radio Science (URSI), Commission G, and the Committee on Space Research (COSPAR). He was the recipient of the NSF CAREER Award in 2007, the Zeldovich Medal from COSPAR and the Russian Academy of Sciences in 2008, the Henry G. Booker Fellowship from URSI in 2008, the Mac Van Valkenburg Early Career Teaching Award from the IEEE Education Society in 2011, and he gave the CEDAR Prize Lecture in 2015 in recognition of Outstanding Scientific Contribution to the Coupling, Energetics, and Dynamics of Atmospheric Regions (CEDAR) Community.