Nine Engineering Leaders to Be Recognized at the 2018 Honors Assembly

Oct. 19, 2018

ASME will pay tribute to the contributions and careers of nine leading engineering innovators during the Honors Assembly at the ASME 2018 International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition (IMECE 2018) next month in Pittsburgh, Pa. The conference, which is the world’s largest interdisciplinary mechanical engineering conference, will take place from Nov. 9 to 15 at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center.

Thomas J.R. Hughes

One of the honorees, Thomas J.R. Hughes, will be presented with the ASME Medal during the Honors Assembly, to be held Monday, Nov. 12 from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Dr. Hughes was selected to receive the medal, which is the Society’s highest award, for “the pioneering development of computer-aided engineering and design technologies disseminated in industrial and commercial software used throughout the world, thereby improving engineering product development; and for originating and leading new fields of computational engineering research,” according to the award citation. Hughes, an ASME Fellow, is a professor of aerospace engineering and engineering mechanics and the Peter O’Donnell Chair in Computational and Applied Mathematics at the University of Texas at Austin.

Portonovo Ayyaswamy

Four other ASME Fellows — Portonovo Ayyaswamy, Alan Needleman, Robert M. Nerem and Frank E. Talke — will be added to the ranks of Honorary Membership at the ceremony. First bestowed in 1880, ASME’s founding year, Honorary Membership recognizes a lifetime of distinguished service by individuals whose work has contributed substantially to the highest goals of the engineering profession.

Dr. Ayyaswamy, the Asa Whitney Professor of Dynamical Engineering at the University of Pennsylvania, is being honored for “exceptional contributions to mechanical engineering through a career marked with seminal and groundbreaking research scholarship, which has engendered transformational technology transfer for diverse applications; and for exemplary professional service to the worldwide scientific and practicing thermal engineering community.” A member of the University of Pennsylvania faculty since 1974, he is recognized worldwide for his contributions to various areas of multiscale and multiphase flow, heat and mass transfer.

Alan Needleman

A university distinguished professor at Texas A&M University as well as a Texas A&M Engineering Experiment Station distinguished research professor in the department of materials science and engineering, Dr. Needleman will be named an Honorary Member for his pioneering research in the fields of computational mechanics and computational materials science. Needleman’s contributions include the development of a ductile fracture computational methodology, the development of cohesive surface methods for fracture analysis, and the creation of a framework that enables the solving of general boundary value problems using discrete dislocation plasticity.

Robert M. Nerem

Dr. Nerem, who is an institute professor emeritus of mechanical engineering with additional appointments in the chemical and biomolecular engineering and biomedical engineering departments at Georgia Institute of Technology, is being honored for his “outstanding contributions to the understanding of the dynamics of blood flow in health and disease, and the development of tissue engineering and regenerative medicine; and for leadership in creating opportunities for engineers to play a vital role in advancing medicine.” Nerem’s recent research interests have involved investigating how differences in the hemodynamic environment result in altered cellular function on different sides of an aortic valve, as well as researching stem cell technology, the role of the mechanical environment in the differentiation of stem cells, and cell manufacturing.

Frank E. Talke

The professor of mechanical engineering and endowed chair at the Center for Memory and Recording Research at the University of California, San Diego, Dr. Talke is being named an Honorary Member for his contributions to information storage technology, color inkjet printing and medical device technology. Talke, who began his career nearly 50 years ago at the IBM Research and Development Laboratories, has made significant contributions in the areas of tribology of magnetic recording systems and in the production of a prototype drop-on-demand color inkjet printer. He has conducted ground-breaking research in applying laser Doppler vibrometry to hard disk drives and in studying novel lubricants and additives for the head/disk interface.

Gwynne Shotwell

Another honoree at this year’s ceremony, Gwynne Shotwell of SpaceX in Hawthorne, Calif., will be presented with the Ralph Coats Roe Medal. Established in 1972, the award is bestowed upon an individual for an outstanding contribution toward a better public understanding and appreciation of the engineer’s worth to contemporary society. Shotwell, who is president and chief operating officer of the aerospace and space transportation company SpaceX, is being acknowledged for “outstanding leadership in innovation for space commercialization and colonization, for technical contributions to the design of reusable rockets and for dedication to the promotion of STEM education.” Shotwell, who started at SpaceX in 2002 as vice president of business development, is responsible for the company’s daily operations and for overseeing customer and strategic relations.

Kamlakar Rajurkar


ASME Fellow Kamlakar Rajurkar, a College of Engineering Distinguished Professor of Mechanical and Materials Engineering at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln, will receive the M. Eugene Merchant Manufacturing Medal of ASME/SME. The award is presented to an individual who has played a significant role in improving the productivity and efficiency of manufacturing operations. Dr. Rajukar is being honored for contributions to enhance the productivity of nontraditional machining processes used in automobile, aerospace and medical device manufacturing through extensive research in process modeling as well as sensing and control techniques. The program director for manufacturing machines and equipment at the National Science Foundation from 1999 to 2002, Dr. Rajurkar is the founding director of the Center for Nontraditional Manufacturing Research at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln and has served in a number of leadership roles within the university’s College of Engineering.

Richard William Barnes

Richard William Barnes, president of ANRIC Enterprises Inc. in Toronto, Canada, will receive the Melvin R. Green Codes and Standards Medal at this year’s Honors Assembly. Established as the Codes and Standards medal in 1976, the award was renamed 20 years later in memory of Melvin Green, who was a dedicated supporter of industrial standards, an ASME Fellow and a longtime Society employee. Barnes is being recognized for “distinguished leadership and professionalism in the research, development, promotion, acceptance and application of ASME codes and standards; and for direct senior management involvement in the design, construction and operational support of nuclear power plants.” An active ASME Standards & Certification volunteer and past recipient of the Bernard F. Langer Nuclear Codes and Standards Award, Barnes is a current member and past vice chair of the Boiler and Pressure Vessel Technical Oversight Management Committee, among other positions.

Ivar Giaever

The ninth honoree at this year’s ceremony, Ivar Giaever, chief technology officer at Applied BioPhysics Inc. in Troy, N.Y., will be presented the Nancy DeLoye Fitzroy and Roland V. Fitzroy Medal for pioneering contributions to the frontiers of engineering that have led to a breakthrough in existing technology, or to new applications or new areas of engineering endeavor. Dr. Giaever, who is also an ASME Honorary Member, will receive the medal in recognition of his innovative experimental research in superconductor tunneling that has advanced the understanding of the phenomenon of superconductivity and led to the development of new scientific instruments. Giaever, who conducted research at the General Electric Research Laboratory for 30 years before joining the faculty of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in 1988, received the Oliver E. Buckley Condensed Matter Physics Prize in 1965 and was one of three researchers who shared the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1973 for their work related to tunneling phenomena in solids.

For more information on the Honors Assembly and the special events taking place at IMECE 2018, visit