Applied Computational Fluid Dynamics Laboratory

University of Bridgeport
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Dr. Jani Macari Pallis

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Associate Professor, Mechanical Engineering

Dr. Jani Macari Pallis is the founder and CEO of Cislunar Aerospace, Inc., an engineering and research firm located inSan Francisco, California. With a background in biomedical industrial, mechanical and aeronautical engineer, she specializes in fluid dynamics, with an emphasis on air, space and marine vehicles, sports equipment, and the relationship between athletic injuries and equipment.

Pallis has conducted leading edge research and development for organizations such as NASA, the Department of Energy, the US Air Force, Daimler Benz, and Quantum Parachutes.

She has applied the same science and engineering skills to a variety of marine sports as well as tennis, volleyball, winter and wheelchair sports. As the lead aerodynamicist from Cislunar Aerospace to the Hawaiian America’s Cup XXX (1999-2000) challenger, she and her staff conducted computer simulations on new sail and mast designs. She worked with Gaastra Sails’ and now Maui Sails world champion sailors and designers (“The Team”) and has coordinated sport science and medicine efforts for them. She has ialso conducting wave reduction experiments for the International Water Skiing Federation and aerodynamic simulations for the USA Luge team.

Although Pallis has coordinated high technology projects at the national level, she is especially known for her ability to develop and teach difficult science materials and math concepts in an easy to understand manner. In addition to her engineering practice, she has led three collaborations between NASA and Cislunar, creating educational materials on the aerodynamics of sports for pre-college students and educators. She has been the principal investigator of “The K-8 Aeronautics Internet Textbook” (includes a large section on aerodynamics in sports) and “Aerodynamics in Sports Technology (

As the principal investigator of NASA's "Aerodynamics in Sports" project, she led a team of researchers investigating the aerodynamics, physics and biomechanics of tennis. The group conducted high-speed video data capture at the US Open and research of ball/court interaction, footwork, serve speeds, trajectories and ball aerodynamics. Pallis is also the principal investigator on a third NASA collaboration as called “Math To The Moon … And Beyond” which will develop mathematics educational materials for NASA Explorer Schools for grades 4-9 during 2005-2007 focusing on space flight, space operations and space exploration.

She and colleague, Dr. F. Carroll Dougherty, also developed the Internet Activities Center for the Society of Women Engineers ( – a series of engineering activities especially developed for young women.

She also led the “Wright Again” project (a virtual recreation of the Wright brother’s work) between Cislunar Aerospace, Inc., The Franklin Institute Science Museum, the National Business Aviation Association, NASA and educators around the United States( The project commemorated the 100-year anniversary of the Wright brothers’ first flight in December 2003 and showcases the Wright Brothers Aeronautical Engineering Collection donated by Orville Wright to TFI. The collection includes the Wright brothers notes, journals and engineering artifacts, such as the airfoils used in brothers’ wind tunnel tests of 1901 to determine the wing shape of the 1903 Wright Flyer. Dr. Pallis worked with the museum to interpret these aeronautical documents and artifacts and developed meaningful education materials for pre-college students and educators. It is the believed that she is the first engineer since Orville Wright to work with many of these documents.

She is the author of numerous technical papers and has a monthly column on tennis science, engineering and technology ( With Dr. Rabindra Mehta of NASA Ames Research Center she is the author of the upcoming book, “Aerodynamics and Hydrodynamics in Sports”. Along with her colleague Prof. George Hung from Rutgers University, she is the senior editor of a new series of 10-15 academic books on bioengineering in sports. Prof. Hung and Pallis are the editors and chapter authors of the first book in the series "Biomedical Engineering Principles in Sports". She contributed two chapters on sports balls and ballistics and Paralympic sports in Dr. Michael Jenkins recent book, "Materials in Sports Equipment". Dr. Pallis is the editor of McGraw-Hill’s “Big Book of Air and Space Flight Activities”.

For three years Pallis directed and developed a Sport Science, Engineering and Technology academy hosted at MIT. During the weeklong residential summer camp, rising 9-10 grade attend sports engineering, science and technology lectures, conduct hands-on aerodynamics, design, mechanical, analysis and informational technology-related projects. Activities have included enhancing bicycle helmets to reduce aerodynamic drag and design an equestrian saddle for a paraplegic rider. The program has been conducted at Stanford University and at the University of San Diego as well.

She has been research advisor to the International Tennis Federation's (world governing body for tennis) Wheelchair Tennis Medical Commission. She is a member of the Executive Committee of The International Sports Engineering Association. She has worked with both the United States Olympic Committee and USA Luge team on sports-related aerodynamics.

Pallis received her bachelor and masters degrees from the Georgia Institute of Technology, a masters degree in mechanical engineering from the University of California , Berkeley and a Ph.D. in mechanical and aeronautical engineering from the University of California , Davis.

Pallis is a member of the executive board of the International Sports Engineering Association (ISEA), a senior member of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) and the Society of Women Engineers (SWE) and has served on the board of directors of the California Association for Aerospace Education. She serves as the national chair of SWE’s International Participation Committee. She is on the editorial board of the journal Sports Engineering. She has received special recognition awards from NASA, United Airlines, the young Astronaut Council and the California Association for Aerospace Education. She was named "Distinguished Alumna" of Georgia Tech's Industrial and Systems Engineering Department in 2003. For the 100-year anniversary of powered flight, she was installed on the Franklin Institute and Science Museum, Philadelphia, PA “Wall of Fame” at the Franklin Aviation Hall as a woman engineer involved in aerodynamics.

Research Interests

Sports engineering, sustainable design and environmentally conscious manufacturing for the aviation, aerospace and sports industries, numerical methods and simulation, engineering outreach.