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08/31/2012 07:00:00

Dennis Kochmann Wins International Solid Mechanics Award

Caltech assistant professor of aerospace Dennis Kochmann received the 2012 IUTAM Bureau Prize in solid mechanics from the International Union of Theoretical and Applied Mechanics (IUTAM). Kochmann accepted the award at the organization's quadrennial congress in Beijing on August 24.

IUTAM Bureau Prizes are awarded once every four years to three individuals under 35 years of age. Kochmann won the prize for his paper and presentation in solid mechanics. IUTAM also awarded France's Mickaël Bosco for his lecture on fluid mechanics, and the organization's poster presentation prize went to Huachuan Wang of the United States.

"This prize is a great honor for me because it is awarded by the international solid mechanics community," says Kochmann. "It shows that the research we do in my still very young research group here at Caltech is well received."

Kochmann's presentation, "Making positive use of instability—ultra-high stiffness and damping composites and structures due to constrained instabilities," highlighted recent results of his research, describing how engineers can make positive use of mechanical instabilities.

"While engineering design commonly aims to prevent instabilities of any kind, leading to failure or collapse," Kochmann says, "controlled and careful use of mechanical instabilities can result in new material and structural systems that possess superior properties such as very high stiffness and damping."

More information on the activities of Kochmann's research group at Caltech can be found at

Written by Brian Bell