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NEWS | June 1, 2022

NSWC Dahlgren Division’s Dr. David Hubble Wins the Dr. Delores M. Etter Top Scientist and Engineers of the Year Award

By NSWCDD Corporate Communications

Dr. David Hubble’s path to a career in engineering began during his days growing up on his family’s farm in Andersonville, Tennessee. His dad served as an engineer for the Tennessee Valley Authority and held a master’s degree in aerospace engineering. “He would work engineering into everything we did on the farm,” said Hubble. “I grew up fixing our tractors and tinkering on all of our equipment.” 

Fast forward to today where that early exposure to engineering led Hubble to win the Dr. Delores M. Etter Top Scientists and Engineers of the Year award. The honor is awarded to scientists and engineers who have demonstrated superior accomplishments that are technically outstanding and highly beneficial operationally to the Department of the Navy, the Department of Defense and our national defense. Awardees represent the highest standards in professionalism, ingenuity and accomplishment. 

Hubble developed, fabricated and successfully tested a scalable flat plate calorimeter to effectively measure power on target of state-of-the-art high-energy laser weapon systems. His work provides the Navy with an affordable government-owned tool that will serve as the test standard in qualifying future naval laser weapon systems. According to the nomination, “Hubble developed multiple innovations to propel the Navy toward its goal of delivering superior high-energy laser weapons to the warfighter.”

His innovations include an advanced target sensor with the sensitivity, surface absorption and heat dissipation needed to successfully test future high-energy lasers. Hubble’s team also created a lightweight data acquisition support system for unmanned aircraft that provides video coverage of the flat plate calorimeter to its controllers.

The Tennessee native earned his  undergraduate degree in engineering from the University of Tennessee. He focused on heat transfer studies while working towards a doctorate in mechanical engineering at Virginia Tech. 

“I was surprised to find out I was nominated,” he said modestly. “I am part of a team and there are so many people across Dahlgren doing great work, work that is more important than mine.”

Hubble continues to follow in his father’s footsteps in nurturing the next generation of engineers. He and his wife are raising their three children on their own farm in King George County. With a smile on his face, he said, “I have a big workshop there where I spend my time fixing tractors and teaching my kids to get hands-on and how to work with tools.” 

The Dr. Delores M. Etter Top Scientists and Engineers of the Year award will be presented to Hubble during a ceremony on June 16.