Thursday, February 9, 2012

Brown Professor Huajian Gao Elected to the National Academy of Engineering

Huajian Gao, Walter H. Annenberg Professor of Engineering at Brown University, has been elected to the National Academy of Engineering (NAE). Gao, honored for contributions to micromechanics of thin films and hierarchically structured materials, is one of 66 new members and 10 foreign associates elected, and is one of just 2,254 U.S. members and 206 foreign associates in the NAE.

Election to the National Academy of Engineering is among the highest professional distinctions accorded to an engineer. Academy membership honors those who have made outstanding contributions to "engineering research, practice, or education, including, where appropriate, significant contributions to the engineering literature," and to the "pioneering of new and developing fields of technology, making major advancements in traditional fields of engineering, or developing/implementing innovative approaches to engineering education."

Professor Gao becomes the fifth member of the Brown School of Engineering faculty to be elected to the National Academy of Engineering. He joins Rush C. Hawkins University Professor Rod Clifton (elected 1989), Professor Emeritus L.B. Freund (elected 1994), Professor Emeritus Alan Needleman (elected 2000), and Vice President for Research and Otis Randall University Professor Clyde Briant (elected 2010).

"This is a spectacular professional achievement for Professor Gao and we are extremely happy for him," said Dean Larry Larson. "To have five members of the National Academy within a faculty of 40 also underscores the strength and level of accomplishment of our faculty here at Brown.”

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.

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 current research includes studies of how metallic and semiconductor materials behave in thin film and nanocrystalline forms, and how biological materials such as bones, geckos, and cells achieve their mechanical robustness through structural hierarchy.