Saturday, January 14, 2006

Professor Carl T. Herakovich won the 2005 Applied Mechanics Award

At the Annual Dinner of the Applied Mechanics Division last November, in Orlando, Florida, Professor Carl T. Herakovich was presented the 2005 Applied Mechanics Award, in recognition of his distinguished contributions to mechanics of fibrous composite materials, and his distinguished service to the mechanics and engineering science community. The text of his acceptance speech follows.

Acceptance Speech
The 2005 Applied Mechanics Division Award
Carl T. Herakovich

Thanks Wing, it is indeed a great honor and pleasure to be recognized by the Applied Mechanics community.

I hold the mechanics community in the highest regards and with the utmost respect. I am always so impressed by the intelligence of the people in this community, their honesty and their candor.

And I can really enjoy being around mechanicians in a social setting. Give them a little wine at dinner and it can be quite a party. I really do enjoy the people in this community. I feel very much at home. (Comment briefly on the dinner in Warsaw at the International Congress in August 2004, and the dinner in DC in Sept. 2005.)

As it happens, you have given me a very nice 50th Anniversary gift. It was 50 years ago, September 1955, that I entered Rose Polytechnic Institute in Terre Haute, Indiana (now Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology) to begin my studies in engineering.

How did I end up spending 50 years in mechanics? Several people had a major impact on my decisions along the way. Professor Richard H. F. Pao at Rose was undoubtedly the first person that peaked my interest in the field. The first class I had from Prof. Pao was in fluid mechanics and my oldest memory of him is the time that I fell asleep in his 8 o’clock fluids class one wintry day while sitting next to a hot radiator with my heavy coat still on. Pao woke me up and left no question that I had embarrassed him by falling asleep in his class. That had a major impression on me, as I never like it when students fell asleep in my class in later years. The class that really made me realize that there was this field called mechanics was an elective that I took from Prof. Pao in the second semester of my senior year. The course was on Advanced Mechanics of Materials out of the old Seely and Smith book.

The next person who influenced my studies in mechanics is clearly my wife Marlene. We met in Terre Haute in Sept. 1957, and married not quite three years later in April 1960. In August 1960, we were preparing to go to Colorado where we both were to have jobs. I then saw an announcement that assistantship were available in Mechanics at The University of Kansas. Now, even though we had only been married about three months and Marlene was about 2.5 months pregnant, she agreed to my wild, out-of-the-blue suggestion that we forego the jobs and go to Kansas so I could study mechanics in graduate school. There had been no previous indication that I would ever want to pursue graduate education. (This change in attitude was undoubtedly influenced by my job at the time working for the Indiana Highway Department.)

After two years in Kansas and two more back at Rose teaching and coaching, I again decided that I would like to go back to graduate school to study more mechanics. Again, Marlene agreed even though we now had two sons. Thus, we ended up in at IIT Chicago (very near our homes in Northern Indiana). There I met Prof. Phil Hodge who became my PhD advisor and mentor. He is a great role model and one who has been very active in AMD, serving on the Executive Committee and as Editor of JAM. He was also active in ASME boards and committees as well as the U. S. National Committee on Theoretical and Applied Mechanics. I have followed in his footsteps in many of these activities.

I have had the good fortune to know and interact with a number of the people who have made a significant impact on mechanics in general and this Division in particular. In addition to Hodge at IIT, fellow students were Ted Belytschko and Bill Saric, both former members of the AMD EC.

During my tenure on the Executive Committee, I was privileged to work with David Bogy, Ben Freund, John Hutchinson, Tom Cruse, Stan Berger, Lallit Anand, Alan Needleman and Tom Hughes. This was a very active time for the EC as we initiated two new ASME medals, the Koiter Medal and the Drucker medal. I had the privilege of informing both Professor Koiter and Professor Drucker that a medal was established in their honor and that they were to be the first recipients.

During my term as ASME Vice President of Basic Engineering, I had the opportunity to work with AMD Chairs Dusan Krajcinovic, Stelios Kyriakides, Pol Spanos and Mary Boyce.

On the USNC/TAM, I have had the good fortune to work with Tinsley Oden, Jan Achenbach, Bruno Boley, Andy Acrivos, Hassan Aref, Zdenek Bazant, Dan Drucker, George Dvorak, Wolfgang Knauss, and K. Ravi-Chandar, and many others.

Other mechanicians I have known, and on occasion worked with, include: Bernard Budiansky, Mike Carroll, Dick Christensen, Steve Crandall, Jim Dally, Frank Essenburg, Bob McMeeking, Paul Naghdi, Bob Plunkett, Chuck Taylor, Nick Hoff and Sea Nemat-Nasser. I have met Julius Miklowitz, William Prager, Eli Sternberg, Morton Gurtin and Warner Koiter. (Comment on Gurtin giving a lecture at IIT when I was a graduate student. Gurtin is in the audience.)

I hope it is obvious that I feel very lucky to be able to say that I have rubbed elbows with some of the giants of mechanics and the Applied Mechanics Division.

I owe a debt of gratitude to Dan Pletta who hired me at Virginia Tech, Dan Frederick who served as my chairman there for many years, and Ed Starke who hired me at the University of Virginia. And, of course, to Marlene who has always been there, and allowed me to follow what were at times, capricious whims.

In closing, I would like to comment briefly on some beliefs that I have arrived at after 50 years in the field. I believe that the sustainable future of mechanics is in the fact that it is a science. While we in the US tend to think of mechanics as an engineering discipline, if you read the literature on the establishment of the International Union of Theoretical and Applied Mechanics, our field was, and is, clearly considered a science.

There are several Engineering Science and Mechanics departments in the US that have maintained strength and vitality while other mechanics departments without Science in the name have floundered. Advances in engineering, in particular computational engineering, have radically changed the practice of engineering during my professional lifetime. We are now more science oriented in our approach to traditional engineering problems as well as the types of new problems that we are investigating.

Further, it is evident that science receives the lion’s share of research funding in the US. This was brought home to the USNC/TAM last spring when we had presentations from congressional staff members. The message was: if you hope to increase funding for mechanics, emphasize the science of mechanics. Indeed, the USNC/TAM is considering a name change that would include the word science. Your collective input to a more modern name for the US Committee would be most welcome.

In my role as Secretary of the USNC/TAM, I want to encourage all of you to submit proposals to host an IUTAM Symposium. These international symposia are opportunities to bring together an international assemblage of experts in a specific field of mechanics. They can have a major impact on the field as well as your local institution. The US has been somewhat lax in proposing IUTAM symposia recently and I encourage you to consider submitting a proposal. All pertinent information can be found on the USNC/TAM web site at The two-page proposals are due in early January 2006.

Again, I thank all of you for honoring me as you have.


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