NASA People

Olaf Storaasli Earns Concordia's 2009 Alumni Achievement Award
Olaf Storaasli earned Concordia's 2009 Alumni Achievement Award "for outstanding service to scientific research, peerless work in support of America's space programs and service to young people, education and community."

The citation read:

Tonight we honor one of our most accomplished graduates in the sciences, Dr. Olaf Storaasli, Class of 1964 -- who has made significant contributions in the development of high speed computational methods for advanced high performance computers.

He is a research scientist, a noted world's authority, high school science fair judge, volunteer career day speaker, and a little league baseball, hockey and basketball coach.

As you can see, Dr. Storaasli is living the life of the liberally educated person.

He has made a difference in his profession:

First during a 35-year career at NASA's Langley Research Center in Virginia, and now with a future technologies group at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee.

Dr. Storaasli's aptitude for innovative solutions to engineering problems that require complex analysis earned him a well-deserved reputation as THE person one must call when NASA needs to analyze data fast in order to make important decisions.

He is a mentor for a new generation of computer scientists, including working with minority students to interest them in the sciences.

He is the recipient of many NASA and Langley Achievement Awards, notably for his work on the Viking Mars Spacecraft . . . and for developing rapid computational software used by NASA in the structural analysis of the Space Shuttle Solid Rocket Booster . . . to solve 54,870 equations in six seconds elapsed time!

Now that's some kind of number crunching!

Four years ago, at a time when some may consider retirement after a distinguished career, Dr. Storaasli was called by the Oak Ridge National Laboratory to accept the position of Distinguished Research Scientist in the Future Technologies Group. He is now exploring new hardware and software concepts on the next generation of supercomputers to make Oak Ridge computers the fastest in the world.

Dr. Storaasli has mentored many young NASA engineers, and over the years has directed the research projects of numerous graduate, undergraduate, and high school students through programs sponsored by NASA. Says one former mentee, "My interest in science was stimulated in a great way by my mentorship with you."

In Oak Ridge, Olaf and Barbara now raise bees and often see Dean Oen, last year's Alumni Achievement Award recipient, at Grace Lutheran Church and the Vikings of the Smokies Lodge, a Sons of Norway chapter the two have recently started.

For his outstanding service to scientific research, for his peerless work in support of America's space programs, and to his service to young people, education and his community, tonight Concordia College is honored to present Dr. Olaf Storaasli with the Alumni Achievement Award.