• Ph.D. Georgia Institute of Technology, 2002
  • M.S.M.E. Georgia Institute of Technology, 1992
  • B.S.M.E. Rochester Institute of Technology, 1980


Dr. Richard S. Cowan is an Engineering Manager, who instructs students, supervises the laboratory engineering support team, and advises on matters related to the science of tribology, and the organizational culture of safety. His professional interests include the strategic management of technology, equipment asset management, diagnostics and prognostics of mechanical systems, and surface engineering, including thermal phenomena, wear and fatigue. Rising in rank to Principal Research Scientist, he has held various positions of leadership at Georgia Tech; applying his skills to ensure that staff and operations can carry out a particular vision and mission, while administering the day-to-day financial and technical interests of multiple faculty and students engaged in high-profile, multidisciplinary programs of unclassified and classified research. Sponsors include ONR, Boeing, DARPA, and AFRL. A former product development engineer at TRW Bearings Division (presently SKF Aeroengine North America) and Cummins Engine Company, Dr. Cowan has also consulted within the U.S. House of Representatives as a Federal Congressional Fellow. He is a Professional Engineer, registered in the State of New York.

As an educator, Dr. Cowan communicates principles from engineering and mathematics to those who want to learn, so that they in turn can accomplish their passion. Over the past decade, he has taught several undergraduate courses at Georgia Tech associated with mechanical design and engineering mechanics. Honing his craft at the Pennsylvania State University, he has held adjunct teaching appointments for the State University of New York and Rochester Institute of Technology.


  • Fellow of ASME, 2016.
  • Class of 1940 Course Survey Teaching Effectiveness Award, Georgia Tech, 2016.
  • ASME Dedicated Service Award, 2013.
  • Donald F. Wilcock Distinguished Service Award, ASME Tribology Division, 2012.
  • Saturn Company Award for Teamwork, 1994.
  • Interdisciplinary Certification, Management of Technology, Georgia Institute of Technology, 1993.