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
"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
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
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.