935 practitioners travel to MSU from around the world

June 16, 2014

Mechanics is the underpinning of many modern engineering disciplines, with a long history that includes Sir Isaac Newton and his laws of motion. More than 935 practitioners from around the world have gathered at Michigan State University in East Lansing, Mich., this week to continue the examination of why material objects behave as they do when the object is in motion or at rest.

MSU professors John Foss and Tom Pence are co-chairs of the 17th U.S. National Congress on Theoretical and Applied Mechanics (USNCTAM), June 15-20, 2014, in MSU’s Kellogg Center. Tom Pence and John Foss are co-chairs of the 17th U.S. National Congress of Theoretical and Applied Mechanics.

“The discipline of mechanics is grounded in physics and practiced in all engineering colleges,” explained Foss, a professor of mechanical engineering. “This congress is a gathering of practitioners in all aspects of mechanics to share ones efforts with colleagues of similar interests.”

Pence, also a professor of mechanical engineering at MSU, said the country’s leading mechanics researchers have convened at this national gathering every four years since 1950.

“Mechanics typically sits at the intersection of physics, mechanical engineering and applied math, so it emphasizes the fundamentals,” Pence said. “It puts mechanical engineering on a firm scientific foundation and helps it to continue to make advances.”

The 2014 plenary speakers are:

Monday, June 16: Harry Dankowicz, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign,
"Discontinuity-induced Bifurcations in Models of Mechanical Contact, Capillary Adhesion, and Cell Division: A Dynamics Framework for Design, Analysis, and Control"

Tuesday, June 17: Alain Goriely, Oxford University,
"The Mechanics and Dynamics of Evolving Biological Structures"

Wednesday, June 18: J. Tinsley Oden, University of Texas,
"Foundations of Predictive Science and Their Implications in Computational Mechanics"

Thursday, June 19: Greg Olson, Northwestern University,
"Integrated Computational Materials Design: From Genome to Flight"

Friday, June 20: Rajat Mittal, Johns Hopkins University,
"Multiphysics Computational Modeling of Cardiac Flows: From Fundamental Insights to Clinical Applications"

Mechanics is an element of classInternational visitors include Robert Florek, University of Oxford, and Daniele Dini, Imperial College of London. More than a dozen countries are represented at the conference, including Austria, Canada, China, France, Germany, Italy, New Zealand and Spain.ical physics and a fundamental part of many engineering disciplines, including civil engineering, mechanical engineering, aeronautical engineering, marine engineering and large parts of chemical engineering, among others.

More than 800 abstracts have been accepted for the MSU congress.

Commissioned by USNCTAM, the 2014 conference continues the work of previous congresses. Penn State University hosted the last event in 2010. The 18th congress will convene at Northwestern University in 2018.

Pence said it is appropriate for the congress to return to Michigan, with its strong industrial history. The 1954 congress was at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. This is the first time MSU has hosted the national meeting.

Foss added, “to have this congress on campus, gives our faculty and students a very direct opportunity to have a shared experience with highly qualified members of the international community of mechanics researchers.”

Members of the MSU organizing committee represent six technical tracks and are:

  • Thomas Bieler, professor of chemical engineering and materials science, Track: Nano- and Micro-Mechanics of Materials with Microstructure;
  • Brian Feeny, professor of mechanical engineering, Track: Dynamics;
  • Roger Haut, University Distinguished Professor of radiology and osteopathic medicine, Track: Biomechanics;
  • Farhad Jaberi, professor of mechanical engineering,Track: Computational Mechanics;
  • Dahsin Liu, professor of mechanical engineering,Track: Mechanics of Solids and Structures; and
  • Charles Petty, professor of chemical engineering and materials science, Track: Fluid Mechanics.

 An external Scientific Committee was commissioned by the USNCTAM to support the MSU organizers. Its members are:

  • Rohan Abeyaratne, Massachusetts Institute of Technology,
  • Thomas Hughes, University of Texas at Austin,
  • David McDowell, Georgia Institute of Technology,
  • Francis Moon, Cornell University,
  • Michael Sacks, University of Texas at Austin, and
  • Alexander Smits, Princeton University.