Susan Swithenbank, Program Manager, DARPA

Susan Swithenbank

Program Manager, DARPA

Susan Swithenbank earned a B.S. from Carnegie Mellon University. She was an intern at Honeywell in the non-destructive testing department. She spent two years as an engineer with Lockheed Martin.

Swithenbank has worked with the U.S. Navy as a naval architect, and with the United States Coast Guard as an assistant professor. She was a lecturer for 14 years at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She spent two years with the Martin Trust Center for MIT Entrepreneurship as a lecturer. 

Swithenbank is presently a Program Manager at the Department of Defense, Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. 

In the News…

The principles of undersea magnetohydrodynamic pumps (PUMP) go back to the 1960s. However, recent breakthroughs in generating high magnetic fields are advancing the technology, even though it faces obstacles. Under a new program at the Defense Sciences Office of DARPA, research is forging ahead.

Program Director Susan Swithenbank said the most efficiency ever recorded in a magnetohydrodynamic drive was achieved on the Yamato-1 in 1992. The 30-meter vessel maintained an efficiency of roughly 30 percent while reaching a speed of 6.6 knots. New magnets have demonstrated a 90 percent efficiency in magnetohydrodynamic drives with the development of rare earth barium copper oxide magnets. 

“Now that the glass ceiling in high magnetic field generation has been broken,” said Director Swithenbank, “PUMP aims to achieve a breakthrough to solve the electrode materials challenge.” 


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