The government of China has honored Pol Spanos, the Lewis B. Ryon Professor of Mechanical Engineering and of Civil Engineering at Rice University, with the China International Scientific and Technological Cooperation Award.
Spanos was honored in a ceremony held Jan. 8 in the People’s Hall in Beijing and attended by the president and premier of China. Of the seven award recipients selected worldwide, Spanos was the only engineer, the others being scientists.
The award is granted to foreign scientists, engineers, managers, or organizations that have made important contributions to China's scientific and technological cooperation. Spanos received a silver medal, a certificate and a special visa that permits him to work for up to six months a year in China. Since 2008, he has undertaken collaborative teaching and research efforts with 20 Chinese universities, including Tongji, Zhejiang, and the Harbin Institute of Technology.
In 2013, he was named to a Chang Jiang chair at Tongji University, Shanghai, by the Chinese government. Spanos helped establish its International Joint Research Center for Engineering Reliability and Stochastic Mechanics. He has recruited and supervised more than 30 visiting scholars and Ph.D. students from China.
One of the world’s leading experts on the dynamics and vibrations of structural and mechanical systems, Spanos joined the Rice faculty in 1984. He has published more than 350 technical papers, authored or edited 20 books, and supervised the theses of more than 75 master’s students and the dissertations of more than 55 doctoral students.
Spanos is a member of the National Academy of Engineering, the Academy of Europe, the National Academy of Greece, the Russian Academy of Engineering, and the Indian National Academy of Engineering. He is a fellow of the American Academy of Mechanics, and of the Engineering Mechanics Institute of ASCE. Spanos has been elected an Honorary Member of the American Society of Mechanical Engineering and the American Society of Civil Engineers, the highest honor given by each organization.