S. Nemat-Nasser

Professor Nemat-Nasser, Distinguished Professor of Mechanics and Materials, is the Director of UCSD’s Center of Excellence for Advanced Materials. He studies how materials respond to thermo-mechanical loads imposed by their environment, and how they may fatigue or fail over time. He is especially interested in the mechanics of ceramics, ceramic composites, high strength alloys and superalloys, rocks and geomaterials, and advanced metallic and polymeric composites with electromagnetic, self-healing, and self-sensing functionality; ionic polymer-metal composites as soft actuators/sensors, and shape-memory alloys. He has a history of realizing the impact of experimental mechanics on various scientific and engineering fields, to develop novel materials with new properties. A very brief bio follows:


Sia Nemat-Nasser arrived in the USA in 1958 from Iran. B.S., Sacramento State U, 1960; M.S., 1961, and Ph.D. 1964, UC Berkeley. Assistant professor, Sacramento State U, 1961-62. post-doc, 1964-66, Northwestern U; assistant and associate professor, 1966-70, UCSD; professor, 1970-85, Northwestern U; professor, 1985-present, UCSD. His awards and honors include: Nat’l. Acad. Eng.: Member 2001. ASME: Stephen P. Timoshenko Medal 2008; Mater. Div. establishes Sia Nemat-Nasser Early Career Medal 2008 (focused on underrepresented minorities & women in engineering); Robert Henry Thurston Lecture Award 2006; Honorary Member 2005; Aerosp. Div., Adaptive Struct. & Mater. Systems Best Paper of the Year Award 2003; Nadai Medal 2002; Life Fellow 2001; Chair, Mater. Div. 1997-98; Fellow 1979. ASCE: Theodore von Karman Medal 2008. Sacramento State U: Distinguished Alumni Award 2008. SEM: B.J. Lazan Award 2007; W.M. Murray Medal 2009. SES: William Prager Medal 2002; Founding Fellow 1988; Pres. 1979-80. AAM: Pres. 1996-97, Secy 1989-94, Fellow 1970. World Innovation Foundation: Honorary Member 2004. Tech. Inst.: Willard F. Rockwell Medal 2003. UCSD: Faculty Research Lecturer Award 2005; Sch. Eng./MAE Teacher of the Year Award, 2000-01, 1996-97, & 1994-95; John Dove Isaacs Chair in Natural Philosophy,1995-00. Alburz Educational Foundation Prize 1975.

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2021 Recipient

For a career of interdisciplinary research on fracture and failure with collaborations in chemistry, materials science, geology, and other fields.

Alan Zehnder
Alan Zehnder received his bachelors degree in mechanical engineering from the University of California, Berkeley. He earned his Ph.D. at Caltech working on dynamic fracture. In 1988, following a year as a post-doc at Caltech, Zehnder joined the faculty at Cornell University. At Cornell he teaches courses in engineering mathematics and mechanics. His research interests include the fracture of nanoscale systems, nonlinear dynamics of nanomechanical oscillators, damage tolerance of polymer matrix composites and deformation and fracture of hydrogels. He currently serves as the Associate Dean for Undergraduate Programs in the Cornell College of Engineering and is the incoming editor of Experimental Mechanics.

Past Recipients

The Society acknowledges the following individuals who were given the Sia Nemat Nasser Medal in the past.
2019 - Yasushi Miyano 2017 - Igor Emri 2015 - A. Rosakis
2013 - H. Espinoza 2011 - S. Nemat-Nass