Pol Spanos is a rare breed in the world of engineering because his work spans the fields of practical application and theory, which is why the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) honored him with one of its highest awards.
The ASCE named Spanos, the Lewis B. Ryon Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Civil Engineering, as the recipient of the 1999 Nathan M. Newmark Medal. The ASCE citation stated that he received the honor “for his fundamental contributions to techniques of representing dynamic loads and analyzing structural vibration and for pivotal studies of diverse class of practical problems of dynamics.”
This award was established in honor of Nathan Newmark, one of the founders of the National Academy of Engineering and an engineer respected worldwide for his work that combined the practical and the theoretical, said Jose M. Roesset, the Wofford P. Cain chair and director of the Offshore Technology Research Center at Texas A&M University.
“Dr. Spanos has done some outstanding work in the area of stochastic mechanics,” said Roesset, who is a member of the ASCE. “He has developed many new methods and theories. He has applied those to a number of practical problems in offshore engineering, earthquake engineering and aerospace engineering.”
The award is made to a member of the ASCE, who, through contributions in structural mechanics, has substantially helped to strengthen the scientific base of structural engineering. These contributions have been made in the form of papers or other written presentations.
Spanos’ research efforts focus on the dynamics of flexible and rigid structural mechanical systems under a variety of loads. He is also interested in fatigue and fracture issues of modern composite materials. He uses analytic and numerical methods that often require advanced scientific computation packages and super computers.
He has received numerous awards, including the National Science Foundation Presidential Young Investigator Award for 1984-89. He serves on the editorial boards of many journals and is editor in chief of the International Journal of Non-Linear Mechanics and co-editor of the Journal of Probabilistic Engineering Mechanics.