Engineers Honored for Their Service to the Profession and to Society at IMECE 2017

Nov. 20, 2017

ASME Honorary Member and Fellow Adrian Bejan, the J.A. Jones Distinguished Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Duke University, received the Ralph Coats Roe Medal at the Honors Assembly. The award recognizes an outstanding contribution to the public appreciation of the engineer’s worth to contemporary society.

“Without engineering, civilization does not exist,” Adrian Bejan, Ph.D., told a receptive and enthusiastic audience at ASME’s 2017 Honors Assembly. Dr. Bejan, a professor of mechanical engineering at Duke University, was being awarded the Ralph Coats Roe Medal for his contributions to the public appreciation of the role of engineering in society. He was one of eight engineers honored at the gala event, which was held Nov. 6 during ASME’s annual International Mechanical Engineering Congress & Exposition in Tampa, Fla.

John Staehlin (center) was recognized with the Hoover Medal at the Honors Assembly for his volunteer efforts in coordinating groups of engineers to solve problems for people with disabilities. He is pictured here with ASME President Charla Wise (left) and Yildiz Bayazitoglu, chair of the ASME Committee on Honors.

“An unbelievable honor, to be among such an esteemed group,” said John Staehlin, who was also being honored at the event. Staehlin went on to describe some of the rewards of his longstanding volunteer service to people with disabilities: watching a person use his hand for the first time in many years; seeing a woman with quadriplegia spell out words with the blink of her eye, using a system based on an F16 radar display; and watching a young girl ride a bike for the first time. His remarks earned him a standing ovation as he was awarded the Hoover Medal, for personal and professional achievements advancing the well-being of humankind. Staehlin spent his career developing advanced radar systems. The ovation, however, was for his volunteer work, organizing teams of engineers to solve problems for people with disabilities when no commercially-available product has been available.

The Melvin R. Green Codes and Standards Medal — ASME Standards & Certification’s most prestigious award — was presented to ASME Fellow Paul Edwards, vice president and construction manager for ASME programs at WECTEC Global Project Services Inc. in Canton, Mass., during the Honors Assembly.

Another award, the Society’s prestigious Melvin R. Green Codes and Standards Medal, went to Paul Edwards. Edwards is an expert in conformity assessment and a longtime contributor to the development of ASME boiler and pressure vessel code and certification programs. His message resonated with the audience: “We know that ASME codes and standards, recognized worldwide, and the ASME mark, mean something. And conformity assessment supports that, making our codes and standards stronger in the marketplace, giving our customers, owners, users, jurisdictions, and regulatory authorities, confidence in the ASME mark.”

ASME Fellow Ramesh Agarwal, the William Palm Professor of Engineering in the department of mechanical engineering and materials science and the director of the Aerospace Research and Education Center at Washington University in St. Louis, received ASME Honorary Membership at the ceremony in Tampa.

“Wow, I feel like am getting married again, with all these tuxedos, and the reception, and the company of such distinguished guests.” said Ramesh Agarwal, Ph.D., as he stepped to the podium. Dr. Agarwal was the first of three recipients of ASME Honorary Membership, the Society’s highest level of membership. He was cited for pioneering work in computational fluid dynamics, and for service to education and to the profession. He spoke of his journey 50 years earlier to the U.S. as a 20-year-old student. His thanks included India, “the country of my birth, which nurtured me during my formative years” and “this adopted land ... where the people have been very generous and provided me the opportunity to realize what we call the American Dream.”

Honorary Membership was also awarded to John Cipolla, Ph.D., a recently retired researcher, department head and professor at Northeastern University, and Michael Modest, Ph.D., a recently retired professor and researcher in radiative heat transfer, at the University of California, Merced.

At the 2017 ASME Honors Assembly: (Back row, left to right) ASME Executive Director Thomas Loughlin; Yildiz Bayazitoglu, chair of the ASME Committee on Honors; honorees Evelyn Wang, Michael Modest, and Zdeněk Bažant; ASME President Charla Wise; and Pi Tau Sigma President Darryl James. (Front row, left to right) Honorees Paul Edwards, Ramesh Agarwal, John Staehlin, John Cipolla and Adrian Bejan.

Evelyn Wang, Ph.D., a professor of mechanical engineering at MIT, received the Gustus L. Larson Memorial Award. She studies micro- and nanoscale heat transfer with specially engineered surfaces. The award recognizes outstanding achievements by an early-career mechanical engineer.

The ASME Medal, the Society’s highest award, went to Zdeněk Bažant, Ph.D., a professor at Northwestern University. Bažant was honored for his achievements and ongoing research in size effect theory, which has improved the safety of large structures like bridges and dams. He was specifically cited for developing a statistical theory of the strength and lifetime of quasibrittle structures of random material properties, verifying it with experimental evidence and demonstrating its relevance to structural safety; and for formulating a kinetic energy release theory for material comminution into particles of random sizes under extreme strain rates.

- Roger Torda, Public Information