Jan Achenbach to Receive Theodore von Karman Medal

Jan Achenbach, professor emeritus in service of mechanical engineering and civil and environmental engineering, will receive the 2010 Theodore von Karman Medal from the American Society of Civil Engineers.

The award, established in 1960, recognizes distinguished achievement in engineering mechanics, applicable to any branch of civil engineering.

Achenbach, who joined Northwestern in 1963, is a preeminent researcher in solid mechanics and quantitative non-destructive evaluation. He has made major contributions in the field of propagation of mechanical disturbances in solids. He has achieved important results in quantitative non-destructive evaluation of materials, damage mechanisms in composites, and vibrations of complex structures.

He has developed methods for flaw detection and characterization by ultrasonic scattering methods. Achenbach's work has been both analytical and experimental. He also has achieved valuable results on earthquake mechanisms, on the mechanical behavior of composite materials under dynamic loading conditions, and on the vibrations of solid propellant rockets.

Achenbach is founder of Northwestern's Center for Quality Engineering and Failure Prevention, a state-of-art laboratory for quality control in structural mechanics, with profound impact on the aircraft industry, particularly the monitoring of aging aircraft.

Achenbach was awarded the 2003 National Medal of Technology and the 2005 National Medal of Science, the nation's highest honors for innovation in technology and science. He was elected a member of the National Academy of Engineering in 1982, a member of the National Academy of Sciences in 1992 and a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1994. In 1999 he was elected a Corresponding Member of the Royal Dutch Academy of Sciences. He is also an honorary member of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers and a fellow of ASME, ASA, SES, AMA and AAAS. His awards include the Timoshenko Medal and the William Prager Medal.