Joseph Homer Saleh, Ph.D.

Associate Professor
School of Aerospace Engineering
Georgia Institute of Technology

Welcome to my homepage. The links above contain the usual documents and information, a bio sketch and an overview of my research, publications, and teaching.


My research covers three broad themes:

1. Spacecraft reliability and multi-state failure analysis

2. Programmatic systems engineering as it pertains to space systems, focusing on its temporal dimension, including flexibility, obsolescence, space responsiveness, and schedule risk. These topics are also important beyond the space industry and for any complex engineering system;

3. Accident causation and system safety. This is a highly multidisciplinary theme, with focus areas across different contexts and industries (to date, I have examined aspects of this theme in the mining, process, nuclear, and airline industries). It is also particularly relevant for and synergetic with research in Injury Prevention and Safety in the Healthcare System, areas I am keen to explore next.

Research and teaching philosophy

In a memorable interview late in his life Leonard Bernstein professed, “I love two things: music and people.” I am fond of this statement. It reflects, with one minor adjustment, my attitude toward and motivation for teaching and research. I love two things: ideas and people. I think of researchers and educators as both thought-partners and thought-leaders, working with diverse stakeholders, enriching and sometimes challenging existing ideas, and other times crafting new ones. Researchers and educators are ultimately effective when they make a lasting impact on their audience. And this impact is reflected in the extent to which their ideas, and the embodiment of those ideas in artifacts, are adopted and make a positive difference for people. An awareness of the diversity of stakeholders, contributions, and modes of impact is central to my teaching and research and guides many of my activities. I am also fond of the adage to “think as a person of action, and act as a person of thought.” This is an invitation to maintain a balance between thinking and acting (or doing), neither one to the detriment of, or devoid of the other. In an engineering and educational context, substituting analyze and design for think and act, conveys the idea that taking a designer or decision-maker’s perspective on a matter enriches an analyst perspective on the same subject, and vice-versa, ultimately leading to deeper insights and better decisions and impact. This adage is quite befitting for an academic environment, and my research and teaching have been guided by this thought, of balancing among other things anticipatory rationality (~thinking beforehand) with learning-by-doing (~do it first, then do it right).