See all NewsEngineering News
Honors and Awards

Wei Chen Receives Charles Russ Richards Memorial Award

Award honors Chen’s outstanding achievement in mechanical engineering

Northwestern Engineering’s Wei Chen has received the 2021 Charles Russ Richards Memorial Award, a joint award from the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) and Pi Tau Sigma National Mechanical Engineering Honor Society.

Wei ChenThe award recognizes one individual each year for demonstrating outstanding achievement in mechanical engineering for 20 years or more following graduation. Chen is the second woman to receive the Charles Russ Richards Memorial Award since the honor was established in 1947. Northwestern Engineering’s Jian Cao received the award in 2017.

Chen, Wilson-Cook Professor in Engineering Design and professor and chair of mechanical engineering at the McCormick School of Engineering, is an expert in design under uncertainty and decision-based design. She was recognized for the award based on her seminal contributions to design under uncertainty that have advanced both theoretical development and practical applications of statistical analysis and probability theory in engineering practice, outstanding leadership in advancing interdisciplinary research and the mechanical engineering profession, and her work’s impact on education.

Chen serves as director of the Integrated DEsign Automation Laboratory (IDEAL) and codirector of the Predictive Science & Engineering Design (PSED) cluster program and the Segal Design Institute’s Design Cluster. Her work involves close collaborations with experts in mechanics, manufacturing, industrial engineering, materials science, social science, and computer science.

A member of the National Academy of Engineering, Chen’s honors include being named an ASME fellow, an ASME Design Automation Award, the Intelligent Optimal Design Prize, the National Science Foundation Faculty Early Career Award, the Pi Tau Sigma Gold Medal Achievement Award, and the 2018 Ver Steeg Faculty Award given by The Graduate School at Northwestern. She serves as editor-in-chief of the Journal of Mechanical Design and is president of the International Society for Structural and Multidisciplinary Optimization (ISSMO). She previously served as the chair of the ASME Design Engineering Division.