He joined the USC Viterbi faculty as Assistant Professor of Aerospace Engineering in 1986, after completing his Ph.D. in electrical engineering from USC, where he also earned his master’s degree. He received his B.S. degree in Applied Physics from Caltech in 1981.
He was subsequently promoted to Associate Professor of Aerospace Engineering, and to Professor of Astronautics and Aerospace Engineering in 2007. His research focuses primarily on spacecraft propulsion, optics and optical instruments and the kinetics of gases and plasmas.
Erwin is a founding member of the Department of Astronautical Engineering and has also previously served as its chair (from 2007 to 2016). He is an Associate Fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics. Erwin has received numerous awards and honors including the Engineer’s Council Distinguished Engineering Project Achievement Award and the USC School of Engineering Outstanding Teaching Award.
Erwin succeeds Professor Michael Gruntman, who served as department chair for the last three years.
In a memo to the Viterbi staff and faculty, USC Viterbi Dean Yannis C. Yortsos said: “I look forward to working closely with Dan and the ASTE faculty to keep constantly adding value to our academic offerings and to making space and astronautical engineering a strong priority of the school for the benefit of our students and national needs.”
Erwin will begin his three-year term on July 1, 2019.