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  FACULTY IN ACTION

Mechanical engineering chair receives prestigious award

A University of Mississippi faculty member is the recipient of a highly prestigious award from the International Conference on Computational and Experimental Engineering and Sciences.


Arunachalam Rajendran


Arunachalam Rajendran, chair and professor of mechanical engineering, was presented ICCES's Lifetime Achievement Award at the organization's 2011 annual meeting in Nanjing, China. He was honored for his research in "Impact Behaviors of Advanced Materials and Structures." Rajendran is the first in his field to receive this award, which recognizes his sustained and significant contributions in the forms of research, teaching and community service.


Rajendran is among only six people in the world, including three in the United States, to receive the honor, which is not given every year.

"The recognition through this award will provide more or enhanced opportunity to conduct collaborative research with researchers in leading institutions around the world," Rajendran said. "The honor also enables me to attract and recruit post-doctoral fellows from top institutions in countries that participate in the ICCES conferences each year."

Alex Cheng, dean of the UM School of Engineering, said Rajendran's extensive administrative and research experience is most deserving of the recognition.

"Dr. Raj's research on the ballistic impact on armors has vital contribution to the nation's security," Cheng said. "Several of Rajendran's material failure models are included in the Department of Defense and the Department of Energy design codes and routinely used by scientists and engineers working in government and private laboratories.

"He has served as the lead organizer for numerous national and international workshops and symposiums throughout his career, bringing researchers together to brainstorm future requirements for advanced material models for protective structures under extreme loading environments. His international award will bring the mechanical engineering department, the School of Engineering and the University of Mississippi national and international attention."

ICCES founder Satya Atluri, member of National Academy of Engineers and distinguished professor at the University of California-Irvine, informed Rajendran of his selection. An anonymous award committee identified researchers based on recognition by peers, continuous contribution to the field for 20 years or more, active participation and publications in ICCES conferences and demonstrated leadership on organizing symposiums and workshops.

"I have been recognized for my work by several other awards throughout my career," Rajendran said. "This international award further validates my contributions to the field."

Born and raised in India, Rajendran earned his doctorate from the Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics Engineering at the University of Washington. Before joining the UM faculty in 2008, he served as chief scientist for the Engineering Sciences Directorate in the U.S. Army Research Office; a team leader at the Army Research Laboratory in Maryland; a mechanical engineer at the Army Materials Technology Laboratory in Massachusetts; and a group leader and associate research engineer at the University of Dayton Research Institute in Ohio.

Other honors and awards Rajendran has received during his 23-year career include ICCES's Professor Eric Reissner Medal, the Army's Research & Development Achievement Award, the Wohlleben/Hochwalt Award and Martin/Marietta's Manned Space Systems Award.

Rajendran also was active in Tamil Nadu Foundation, a nonprofit organization in Maryland, and successfully executed several charitable projects as TNF president. These included "Computers on Wheels," which promotes computer education among rural high school students in India. He was recognized for his leadership for this project – both in the United States and India – through the "Outstanding Non-Resident Indian" award given by the Intellectual Forum of India.

He is a member of the American Physical Society, an associate fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, and a fellow of both the American Society of Mechanical Engineers and the Army Research Laboratory.

Over the past decade, the ICCES has emerged as a major international forum with thousands of participants from the Americas, Europe and Asia convening to share recent research results in engineering science. ICCES emphasizes the closure of theory, computation and experiment across the sciences, engineering and mathematical modeling.

For more information on ICCES and the Lifetime Achievement Award, visit http://icces.org/.