Balachandran Receives Robert H. Scanlan Medal
Balakumar Balachandran, Minta Martin Professor and Chair of the University of Maryland’s mechanical engineering department, has been awarded the Robert R. Scanlan Medal, which is given by the American Society of Civil Engineers’ (ASCE) Engineering Mechanics Institute (EMI).
In honoring Balachandran, the EMI cited “his distinguished contributions in nonlinear, engineering mechanics, with a focus on structures and aeroelasticity.” He is the first UMD faculty member to receive this distinction.
Balachandran was formally presented with the medal on June 2 at the EMI 2022 conference, held at The Johns Hopkins University (JHU) in Baltimore, MD. The award, which is funded by JHU, commemorates the lifetime achievements of Professor Robert H. Scanlan, a leader in the analysis of wind effects on large structures, bridge aerodynamics, and aeroelasticity.
"It was my good fortune to serve with Bob Scanlan as a colleague at Princeton and to continue our friendship over many years thereafter,” said Earl H. Dowell, William Holland Hall Distinguished Professor at Duke University and a member of the U.S. National Academy of Engineering. “Professor Scanlan was a preeminent pioneer in aeroelasticity and wind engineering and I know he would be pleased that Professor Balachandran is receiving the Scanlan Medal for his own distinguished career in nonlinear dynamics, vibrations, and system identification.”
“Those of us who have had the pleasure of knowing Bala and Bob are especially pleased that these two outstanding scholars are forever linked by this award,” he said.
Balachandran has chaired the UMD mechanical engineering department since 2011. He is a fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) as well as of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA). In 2021, he received ASME’s J.P. Den Hartog and Lyapunov Awards in recognition of his achievements as an engineer, researcher, and educator.
In June 2022, he became a Fellow of the Royal Aeronautical Society (RAeS), Founded in1866 and headquartered in Britain, the RAeS is the oldest aeronautical society in the world.
Impactful contributions to nonlinear mechanics
The significance of Balachandran’s work was summed up by Roger Ohayon, Professor Emeritus at the Conservatoire National des Arts et Metiers (CNAM), Paris and a member of the French Academy of Sciences. Balachandran, he said, is a “pillar of the nonlinear mechanics community who has been devoted to the study of nonlinear vibrations.”
“He has authored three books, two edited books and 20 book chapters, as well as a large number of papers on various aspects of nonlinear mechanics and vibrations,” Ohayon said. “Building on Professor Ali H. Nayfeh’s pioneering work in this domain, he has led the nonlinear mechanics and vibrations community over the past two decades, providing constant guidance and leadership, organizing sessions, symposia and conferences that disseminate the knowledge of the nonlinear dynamics and vibrations community.”
“In addition to his textbooks, which have become the reference for advanced research on nonlinear vibration mechanics and its application to nonlinear aeroelasticity, Professor Balachandran has single-handedly and very boldly initiated a number of research areas in the domain of nonlinear vibrations with applications to various engineering problems and which attract a growing interest,” he said.
“The development of his research hinges on a deep understanding of the complex field of nonlinear dynamics and bifurcations, initiated by scientists such as Poincaré,” he said. “Professor Balachandran contributions highlight a broad scientific culture that spans applied mathematics, nonlinear mechanics and vibrations, fluid-structure interactions such as nonlinear aeroelasticity, experimental mechanics.”
July 29, 2022