Robert McMeeking, Professor of materials and of mechanical engineering at UC Santa Barbara, has been appointed inaugural recipient of the Tony Evans Chair in Structural Materials. McMeeking’s appointment recognizes his outstanding achievements in mechanics and materials, including nonlinear fracture mechanics, transformation toughening of ceramics, mechanics of composite materials, powder consolidation, and ferroelectric fracture and constitutive modeling.
“It is a great honor for me to be appointed to the Tony Evans Chair, as Tony was an outstanding collaborator, a valued mentor and a great friend,” said McMeeking. “Tony was the leading materials scientist of his generation, and he was a tremendous influence on me and on the development of materials science and engineering at UCSB. When I approach my work I try to follow Tony’s example of thinking broadly, looking at how concepts can be exploited from different disciplines, and how sheer curiosity and fascination with how materials behave can drive our efforts forward. I hope to play a role in whatever way I can in continuing his legacy, and by trying to show my students and post-docs the Tony Evans way of looking at materials.”
An expert in solid mechanics, materials and structures, McMeeking has conducted research ranging from mechanics of materials to multifunctional materials and structures to thermal barrier coatings, blast- and fragment-resistant structures, to biomechanics and cell mechanics. He has published more than 200 papers and is a Fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) and the American Academy of Mechanics. He also was elected to the U.S. National Academy of Engineering in 2005, the U.K. Royal Academy of Engineering in 2012 and the Royal Society of Edinburgh in 2014. He is recognized by the Institute of Scientific Information as a Highly Cited Researcher in the fields of materials science and engineering, and was twice awarded the Alexander von Humboldt Research Award. In 2014 he was awarded the William Prager Medal, one of the top honors given by the Society of Engineering Science, and also the ASME Timoshenko Medal, the top honor in the field of solid mechanics.
McMeeking received his Ph.D. in Engineering from Brown University in 1977 and was an acting assistant professor of applied mechanics at Stanford from 1976 until 1978. He then joined the Department of Theoretical and Applied Mechanics at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, until he joined the faculty of the UCSB College of Engineering in 1985. He was Chair of what was then the Department of Mechanical and Environmental Engineering at UCSB from 1992 until 1995 and then again from 1999 until 2003.
The Chair is named for Tony Evans (1942-2009), Alcoa Professor of Materials and Professor of Mechanical Engineering at UCSB, and founding Chair of the Materials Department. He was perhaps the most highly cited materials scientist in the world and, among many other achievements, a leading contributor to the successful use of brittle materials in a wide variety of applications such as space shuttle tiles, jet engines, silicon chips, and vehicle armor. His leadership as the first Chair of the Materials Department at UCSB set it on its path to prominence that today has brought it to number one status internationally.
The Herbert Kroemer Endowed Chair in Materials Science and the Tony Evans Chair in Structural Materials were enabled by generous donations from Robert and Victoria Mehrabian and anonymous donors. Robert Mehrabian served as the Dean of Engineering at UCSB from 1983 – 1990 before serving as President of Carnegie Mellon University and currently as Chairman, President and CEO of Teledyne Technologies.