Professor Jan Achenbach
Jan Achenbach was born in the Netherlands and studied aeronautical engineering at the Technical University of Delft. He came to the United States in 1959, and was awarded a PhD by Stanford University in 1962. After a post-doctoral year at Columbia University, he joined the faculty of Northwestern, where he is now Walter P. Murphy and Distinguished McCormick School Professor in the Departments of Civil and Environmental Engineering and Mechanical Engineering.
Achenbach is a preeminent researcher in solid mechanics and quantitative non-destructive evaluation. He has made major contributions in the field of propagation of mechanical disturbances in solids, particularly ultrasonics. He has achieved important results in quantitative non-destructive evaluation of materials, detection of damage mechanisms in composites, and structural health monitoring.
He has developed methods for flaw detection and characterization by ultrasonic scattering methods. Achenbach's work has been both analytical and experimental. He also has achieved valuable results on dynamic fracture, on the mechanical behavior of composite materials under dynamic loading conditions, and on the vibrations of complicated structures.
Achenbach is founder of Northwestern's Center for Quality Engineering and Failure Prevention, a state-of-art laboratory for quality control in structural mechanics, with profound impact on the aircraft industry, particularly the monitoring of aging aircraft.
Achenbach was awarded the 2003 National Medal of Technology, the nation's highest honor for technological innovation. He was elected a member of the National Academy of Engineering in 1982, a member of the National Academy of Sciences in 1992 and a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1994. In 1999 he was elected a Corresponding Member of the Royal Dutch Academy of Sciences. He is also an honorary member of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers and a fellow of ASME, ASA, SES, AMA and AAAS. His awards include the Timoshenko Medal and the William Prager Medal.