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Suresh named new head of DMSE


Dean of Engineering Thomas Magnanti has named Professor Subra Suresh as the new head of the Department of Materials Science and Engineering beginning January 16.

The R.P. Simmons Professor of Materials Science and Engineering and a professor of mechanical engineering, Professor Suresh is internationally recognized for pioneering contributions to the understanding of mechanical properties and behavior of materials, and for leadership in materials education.

"In naming Subra to this position, I am pleased to endorse the enthusiastic recommendation of the faculty search committee," said Dean Magnanti (an Institute Professor). "Subra has an exceptional record of research accomplishments and has been an educational innovator, particularly in leading the Advanced Materials Program of the Singapore-MIT Alliance. I very much look forward to working with him as the new head of the department."

Professor Suresh has made major contributions to the broad fields of micromechanics and nanomechanics of thin films, mechanical properties, fracture and fatigue, the multidisci-plinary area of graded materials and coupled properties of small-volume structures. Among his numerous honors and awards is election as a Fellow or honorary member of five different professional societies. He is a co-inventor on nine US and international patent applications, and has served as the coordinating and principal editor of Acta Materialia, a leading international materials science journal.

He has written 175 research articles and two books in the general area of materials and their properties, including Fatigue of Materials and Fundamentals of Functionally Graded Materials (co-author). The former has emerged as a seminal textbook in the field.

About five years ago, Professor Suresh began a program to create novel graded materials -- two or more different materials combined such that the proportion of one is greater at the surface but is gradually replaced by another with depth. This work created the first theoretical and experimental basis for the study of indentation of graded materials with applications in fields as diverse as biomechanical implants, geomechanics, advanced structural coatings and microelectronics. It has also led to the creation of graded surfaces with exceptional properties, and the invention of new methods to characterize them and test their quality.

More recently, work in Professor Suresh's research group has led to new experimental discoveries of the conditions governing the nucleation of defects at length scales of a few nanometers during the nanoindentation of surfaces and thin films.

Professor Suresh received the Bachelor of Technology degree from the Indian Institute of Technology in 1977, the MS from Iowa State University in 1979 and the ScD from MIT in 1981. Before joining the MIT faculty in 1993, he was a professor of engineering at Brown University.

He succeeds Professor Thomas Eagar as department head. Before serving five years in that capacity, Professor Eagar also served as engineering co-director of the Leaders for Manufacturing Program and as director of the Materials Processing Center.������

A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on January 12, 2000.

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