John R. Dixon, creative and technical writer, software author and fellowship honoree

Professor Emeritus of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. Dr. Dixon was Director of the Mechanical Design Automation Laboratory, and served as Department Head. He is a Fellow of ASME, has served as Director of the Design Theory and Methodology Program at National Science Foundation, and was the first recipient of the Ralph Coates Roe Award as Outstanding Mechanical Engineering Educator. His research into design processes, sponsored by both industry and government, has lead to over sixty technical papers and numerous books. In 1998, Prof. Dixon received the Outstanding Educator Award from the Design Engineering Division of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME).

The John R. Dixon Fellowship Fund has been established at the University of Massachusetts Amherst in his honor by Ralph J. Verrilli, a former graduate student, co-founder and Vice-President of Vistagy, Inc. (now Siemens). Click here for details

In 2017 Dr. Dixon's first App for Learning hit the Apple App Store and more learning Apps are being written. Click here for info

Also in retirement, Dr. Dixon has written and published three novels, two books for young readers, and a dozen short stories.Click here

JRD has also recently authored a software program for individuals to maintain their own personal medical records. Click here for details

B.S. and M.S., Mechanical Engineering, M.I.T., 1952-53
Ph.D., Mechanical Engineering, Carnegie-Mellon University, 1961

Academic Positions
• University of Massachusetts
--- Director of Mechanical Design Automation Laboratory, 1983-93
--- Professor and Head of Mechanical Engineering, 1966-71 and 1981-83
• Swarthmore College, Associate Professor, 1964-66
• Purdue University, Associate Professor, 1961-64
• Carnegie-Mellon University, Assistant Professor, 1960-61

Certified in mathematics by the Mass Department of Education, Grades 5-12

Industrial Practice and Consulting
• Plant Engineer, Jarl Extrusions, Inc., East Rochester, NY, 1955-57
• Project Engineer, Jos. Kaye and Company, Cambridge, MA, 57-58
• Consulting
--- IBM, Endicott, NY, Design Innovation, 1963
--- Scott Paper, Philadelphia, PA, Design Innovation, 1968-70
--- Dept of Transportation, Washington D.C., Design Faults, 1973
--- Various Clients, Energy Conservation, 1978-81
--- Becton-Dickinson, 1995
--- Otis Elevator, 1996

Government Service
• Military Service, U.S Army, 1953-1955
• Program Director for Engineering Design, Theory and Methodology, National Science Foundation (NSF), 1988-89
• Member National Research Council (Branch of National Academy
of Science) Committee on Engineering Design, 1989-90.
Book Produced: "Improving Engineering Design: Designing for
Competitive Advantage" Published by National Academy Press, Washington, DC ISBN 0-309-04478-2

Research 1983-93
Research sponsored by National Science Foundation (NSF) and a consortium of industrial firms including Polaroid, Xerox, Ford,
AMP, DEC, Smith and Wesson, Becton-Dickenson, GE Corporate Research, GE Aircraft Engines, and GE Plastics. Major themes of the research:
(1) Computer-based models of design processes, including parametric, configuration, and conceptual design;
(2) Feature-based representations for new intelligent CAD systems; (3) support for management of design. The research has resulted in over sixty publications and in new software for support of the design process.

• Fellow of ASME
• Ralph Coates Roe Award, Outstanding Mechanical Engineering Educator, 1976
• Outstanding Design Educator, Design Division, ASME International, 1998
• Tau Beta Pi, Sigma Xi, Pi Tau Sigma

Books Authored - Technical
• Design Engineering: Inventiveness, Analysis, and Decision Making, McGraw-Hill, 1966.
• Programmed Introduction to Probability, Wiley, 1964
• Thermodynamics I, Prentice-Hall, 1975
• Engineering Design and Design for Manufacturing, With Corrado Poli, Field Stone Publishers, 1996

Software Authored (2012-13)
The program, tentatively called 'Gracie', is a personal medical record for individuals to maintain their own medical records. Written in Perl, it resides on a flashdrive (i.e., memory stick) and provides for a complete medical database and problem-oriented record of visits with Providers.

Other Technical and Business Writing (see specific listings below)
• Over Sixty Technical Engineering and Engineering Education Papers
• Two Articles for Business Journals
• New York Times Op-Ed Article, 1989
• Over Twenty Op-Ed Articles on Various Technology and Public Policy Subjects in Berkshire Eagle Newspaper

Fiction Books and Short Stories Authored
• Harry's Last - A detective/mystery - Creative Arts Book Company - 1999
• Secret Losses - A novel - Field Stone Publishers - 2000
• Gwyneth's Secret Grandpa – Family History Adventure for Young Readers, Field Stone Publishers - 2000
• Not By Chance - A novel - Field Stone Publishers - 2003
• Mariannes's Secret Cousins – Family History Adventure for Young Readers - Field Stone Publishers – 2005
• Mary McKay (and Five Other Short Stories) – Field Stone Publishers, 2009.
• Lanterman's Falls (and Four Other Short Stories) - Field Stone Publishers, 2010.

Business Owner and Operator
Dixon Energy Systems, 1976-1981
Engineering and Contracting in Industrial and Commercial Energy Conservation, Heat Pump, Solar, and Heat Recovery Systems

• Co-Founder and Editor of the "Journal of Research in Engineering Design"
• Editorial Boards of Four Technical Journals, 1985-99

Special Training
Mediator of business and professional disputes - Endispute, Inc., 1993

Personal Data
Born: Akron, Ohio
Married: Two Children, Four Grandchildren
Hobbies: Writing, Hiking, Piano, Ikebana
Foreign Travel: Japan, China, Germany, Austria, England, Italy, Spain, Sweden, Wales, Switzerland, Denmark

Selected Engineering Education Publications
"Why We Need Doctoral Programs in Design," Mechanical Engineering, Vol. 114, No. 2, February, 1992.

"Engineering Design Science: The State of Education," Mechanical Engineering, Vol. 113, No. 2, February, 1991.

"Engineering Design Science: New Goals for Education," Mechanical Engineering, Vol. 113, No. 3, February, 1991.

Selected Design Management Publications
"Quality Is Not Accidental - It's Designed," New York Times Sunday Business Section, June 26, 1988 (with M.R. Duffey).

"The Neglect of Engineering Design," California Management Review, Berkeley, CA, Winter, 1990 (with M.R. Duffey).

Selected Research Publications
"An Architecture for Application of Artificial Intelligence to Design," Proceedings, 21st ACM/IEEE Design Automation Conference, Albuquerque, NM, June 25-27, 1984 (with M.K. Simmons and P.R. Cohen).

"Reasoning about Quantitative Methods in Engineering Design," Workshop on Coupling Symbolic and Numerical Computing in Expert Systems, Bellevue, WA, Aug 27-29, 1985 (with M.K. Simmons).

Dominic I: Progress Towards Domain Independence in Design by Iterative Redesign," Proceedings, 1986 ASME Computers in Engineering Conference, Chicago, IL, July 20-24, 1986 (with E.C. Libardi and M.K. Simmons).

"Designing With Features: Creating and Using a Features Data Base for Evaluation of Manufacturability of Castings," Proceedings 1986 ASME Computers in Engineering Conference, Chicago, IL, July 20-24, 1986. (With S. L. Luby and M.K. Simmons).

Iterative Respecification Management: A Model for Problem-Solving Networks in Mechanical Design", Proceedings ASME Computers in Engineering Conference, New York, NY, August 9-13, 1987 (with R. J. Verrilli, K.L. Meunier, and M. K. Simmons).

"Dominic II: More Progress Towards Domain Independent Design by Iterative Redesign," ASME Proceedings, Intelligent and Integrated Manufacturing Analysis and Synthesis, ASME PED-Vol. 25, Boston, MA, December 13-18, 1987 (with M. Orelup and M.K. Simmons).

"A Proposed Taxonomy of Mechanical Design Problems," Proceedings, ASME Computers in Engineering Conference, San Francisco, CA, July 31-August 3, 1988 (with M.R. Duffey, R.K. Irani, K.L. Meunier and M.F. Orelup).

"Dominic II: Meta-Level Control in Iterative Redesign," Proceedings, Seventh National Conference on Artificial Intelligence (AAAI-88), St. Paul, MN, August 23-26, 1988 (with M.F. Orelup, P.R. Cohen and M.K. Simmons).

"A Review of Research in Mechanical Engineering Design. Part I: Descriptive, Prescriptive, and Computer-Based Models of Design Processes," Research in Engineering Design, Springer-Verlag, New York, Vol. 1, No. 1, 1989 (with S. Finger).

"A Review of Research in Mechanical Engineering Design. Part II: Representations, Analysis, and Design for the Life Cycle," Research in Engineering Design, Springer-Verlag, NY, Vol. 1, No. 2, 1989 (with S. Finger).

"Languages for Feature Based Design and Manufacturability Evaluation," International Journal of Systems Automation: Research and Applications, 1992 (with D.W. Rosen).

"Features and Algorithms for Tooling Cost Evaluation in Injection Molding and Die Casting," Proceedings of the ASME Computers in Engineering Conf, San Francisco, CA, Aug 2-6, 1992 (with D.W. Rosen, C. Poli and X. Dong). (This paper won the Best Paper Award.)

"Representing Function, Behavior and Structure during Conceptual Design," Proceedings of the ASME Design Theory and Methodology Conference, Scottsdale, AZ, Sept 13-16, 1992 (with R.V. Welch).