January 06, 2012
Ares J. Rosakis, Theodore von Karman Professor of Aeronautics and Professor of Mechanical Engineering; Chair, Division of Engineering and Applied Science, has been selected to receive the Commandeur de l'Ordre des Palmes Académiques, which is the Commander grade of the French Republic's Order of Academic Palms. Founded by Napoleon in 1808 to honor educators and scholars, this distinction recognizes eminent personalities who have made significant contributions to the development of French culture, science, and education. It is currently awarded by the Prime Minister of France. [Caltech Feature]
The Order of Academic Palms, was originally created to reward service to French universities and academies. In 1955, Charles de Gaulle broadened the mandate to include researching, teaching, and disseminating knowledge of the French culture around the world. The Order comprises of three grades: Commandeur (Commander — medallion worn on necklet), Officier (Officer — medallion worn on ribbon with rosette on left breast), and Chevalier (Knight — medallion worn on ribbon on left breast). It is one of the world’s oldest orders of chivalry, still in existence, and in distinction the Order of Academic Palms comes right after honors such as the Legion of Honor and the Order of the Liberation. Past recipients of the Commandeur de l'Ordre des Palmes Académiques include classical greek scholar Jacqueline de Romilly, Prince Albert II of Monaco, filmmaker Marcel Pagnol, and mathematician Jean Frédéric Auguste Delsarte.