Jian Cao Receives SME’s Taylor Medal

Cao was honored for her pioneering and innovative research on manufacturing

Northwestern Engineering's Jian Cao has received the 2016 Frederick W. Taylor Research Medal from the SME, previously known as the Society of Manufacturing Engineers. The Taylor Medal is the highest honor given by SME to a researcher in the broad manufacturing field.

Cao is the first woman to receive the prestigious research award since it was established in 1957. She received the medal on May 15 at the SME’s International Awards Gala.

Jian Cao"I am so honored and grateful to SME for recognizing my research work," said Cao, professor of mechanical engineering and associate vice president for research. "None of this would be possible without the contributions from the talented, hardworking students and postdocs in my group and the support from my Northwestern colleagues."

The Taylor Medal honors published research that leads to a better understanding of materials, facilities, principles, operations, and their application to improve manufacturing processes. Cao received the award for her pioneering research on innovative manufacturing processes with seminal contributions in integrating material characterization with sensing and control for forming and laser-assisted processing of sheet metals and woven composites.

The founding director of the Northwestern Initiative on Manufacturing Science and Innovation, Cao is internationally recognized her broad impact on the fundamental understanding of process mechanics, which has led to innovative manufacturing processes.

An elected fellow of SME, the International Academy of Production Engineering (CIRP), and the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME), Cao has received multiple awards, including the ASME Blackall Machine and Gage Award, NSF CAREER Award, and SME’s Outstanding Young Manufacturing Engineer Award. She is also the founding technical editor of the Journal of Micro- and Nano-Manufacturing.

Before joining Northwestern in 1995, Cao was a postdoctoral fellow at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where she also earned her master’s degree and PhD.

"The collaborations I have developed within the Department of Mechanical Engineering, Northwestern Engineering, Northwestern, and beyond over the past 20 years have brought many fruitful results," Cao said. "I look forward to many more scientific advancements and technology innovations to originate from our recent initiatives on manufacturing."