Brown University School of Engineering

Professor Huajian Gao to Receive Prager Medal

October 22, 2014

Brown University Professor of Engineering Huajian Gao has been selected to receive the William Prager Medal from the Society of Engineering Science (SES) made in recognition of his outstanding research contributions in theoretical solid mechanics. The award will be presented at the 52nd Annual Technical Meeting of the Society of Engineering Science to be held at Texas A&M University, October 26-28, 2015.

The medal is named for former Brown professor William Prager, who helped to establish the Division of Applied Mathematics at Brown in the 1940s.

Of the 22 times the Prager Medal has been awarded, a current or former Brown solid mechanics faculty member or alumnus, has won it ten times. Previous Brown recipients includes: Daniel C. Drucker (1983), Rodney J. Clifton (1986), James R. Rice (1988), George J. Dvorak Ph.D. ’69 (1994), L. Ben Freund (2000), Alan Needleman (2006), Richard James ’74 (2008), Alan Wineman Ph.D. ’64 (2009), Robert M. McMeeking Sc.M. ’74 Ph.D. ’77 (2014) and Huajian Gao (2015). Eight of the ten winners, including Huajian Gao, are also members of the National Academy of Engineering (NAE).

Professor Gao received his B.S. degree from Xian Jiaotong University of China in 1982, and his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in engineering science from Harvard University in 1984 and 1988, respectively. He served on the faculty of Stanford University between 1988 and 2002, where he was promoted to associate professor with tenure in 1994 and to full professor in 2000. He was appointed as Director and Professor at the Max Planck Institute for Metals Research in Stuttgart, Germany between 2001 and 2006. He joined Brown University in 2006. Professor Gao has a background in applied mechanics and engineering science. He has more than 25 years of research experience and more than 300 publications to his credit. Gao received the Young Investigator Medal from SES in 2005 and was elected to the National Academy of Engineering in 2012.

Professor Gao’s research group is generally interested in understanding the basic principles that control mechanical properties and behaviors of both engineering and biological systems. His research spans over solid mechanics, nanomechanics, and biomechanics. He works on mechanics of thin films and hierarchically structured materials, mechanics of biological and bio-inspired materials, mechanics of nanostructured and nanotwinned materials, mechanics of cell adhesion, mechanics of cell-nanomaterials interactions, mechanics of energy storage systems, and mechanics of metallic glasses.