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Ted Belytschko Receives William Prager Medal

Ted Belytschko, McCormick Professor and Walter P. Murphy Professor of Mechanical Engineering and professor of civil and environmental engineering at the McCormick School of Engineering, has won the prestigious William Prager Medal from the Society of Engineering Science.

Belytschko, an expert in computational methods for computer simulation of mechanical events such as car-crash testing, was presented the award Wednesday evening at the 48th Annual Technical Meeting of the Society of Engineering Science. The conference is being held at Northwestern University’s Evanston campus from October 12-14.

The William Prager Medal is named after William Prager (1903-1980), a German-born applied mathematician who spent much of his life researching and teaching in the United States. The prize is awarded for outstanding research contributions in theoretical or experimental solid mechanics.

Belytschko’s main interests lie in the development of computational methods for engineering problems. He has developed explicit finite element methods that are widely used in crashworthiness analysis and virtual prototyping. Recently, the methods he developed have been instrumental in enabling the auto industry to replace physical prototype testing with computer simulation in crashworthiness design. These methods also have replaced prototype testing in many other industries, thus shortening the design cycle.

Belytschko chaired the committee that developed the McCormick School’s Engineering First program, which began in 1996. He is co-director of the National Science Foundation Summer Institute on Nano Mechanics, Nanomaterials and Micro/Nanomanufacturing at Northwestern.

One of the most cited researchers in engineering science, Belytschko is the recipient of numerous honors, including membership in the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, the U.S. National Academy of Engineering, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He is editor-in-chief of the International Journal for Numerical Methods in Engineering and co-author of the books “Nonlinear Finite Elements for Continua and Structures” and “A First Course in Finite Elements.”