A Distinct Honor for a Distinguished Professor

Thursday, June 22, 2023

A world-leading researcher in the field of the mechanics of materials, Robert McMeeking, a distinguished professor of materials and mechanical engineering at UC Santa Barbara, has received the 2023 Platinum Medal of the United Kingdom’s Institute for Materials, Minerals & Mining (IOM3). The medal, which was first awarded in 1938, is given to recognize outstanding contributions to a field of interest within the materials, minerals, or mining sector.  

“I am thrilled to receive the 2023 IOM3 Platinum Medal,” said McMeeking, the Tony Evans Chair in Structural Materials. “The previous awardees include eminent researchers in materials. To be included among such outstanding engineers and scientists who made ground-breaking contributions to the field is a tremendous honor.”

McMeeking’s work bridges modern solid mechanics to materials science and thermodynamics, with immediate application to the ductile fracture of alloys by void growth, to cleavage fracture by hydrogen embrittlement and to failure of dielectrics, ferroelectrics, and lithium-ion batteries. According to IOM3’s announcement, McMeeking “has made highly original and influential contributions on a wide range of topics within the overall field of micromechanics: the relationship between microstructure, performance and failure of engineering materials across length scales and time scales. By combining new theoretical and computational insights, he has explained the microstructural basis for a wide range of important phenomena, ranging from the ductile fracture and hydrogen embrittlement of metallic alloys to actuating materials such as ferroelectrics and dielectrics. He has inspired a whole new generation of mechanics researchers in Engineering and Materials Science both in the US and in the UK.”

“Professor McMeeking has made highly influential contributions to the field of micromechanics through his ground-breaking research, mentorship, and service,” said Tresa Pollock, interim dean of the UCSB’s College of Engineering. “On behalf of the College of Engineering, I congratulate Bob on this well-deserved international recognition.”

Previous prestigious honors bestowed upon McMeeking include election to the National Academy of Engineering, the U.K. Royal Academy of Engineering, and the Royal Society of Edinburgh, along with the two premier mechanics prizes, the Timoshenko Medal from the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, and the William Prager Medal from the Society of Engineering Science. 

“The Materials Department is excited for the recognition of Bob’s wide-ranging contributions to the solid mechanics of materials,” added Michael Chabinyc, chair of the Materials Department. “It is inspiring to see his world-wide impact on the field.”

The IOM3 is a leading authority in the worldwide materials and mining communities, with roots that date back to 1839. The institute’s activities encompass the whole materials cycle, from exploration and extraction, through characterization, processing, forming, finishing, and application, to product recycling and land reuse.  

Robert McMeeking, distinguished professor of mechanical engineering and materials

Robert McMeeking, distinguished professor of mechanical engineering and materials