Hughes to receive 2017 SURA Distinguished Scientist Award

Thomas J. R. Hughes

ICES Professor Thomas J.R. Hughes, the Peter O’Donnell Chair in Computational and Applied Mathematics received its 2017 SURA Distinguished Scientist Award.

The annual honor goes to a research scientist whose extraordinary work fulfills the SURA mission to “strengthen the scientific capabilities of its members and our nation.”

The award and its $10,000 honorarium was presented to Dr. Hughes April 19, in conjunction with the SURA Board of Trustees meeting being held at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge.

“Dr. Hughes is an eminent scientist, bringing great distinction to his field of study and institution. SURA is proud to convey this special honor to him,” said Gordon Gee, President of West Virginia University and Chair of the SURA Council of Presidents. “His contributions to the analysis of structural, solid, and fluid systems in the area of computational mechanics–particularly for aerospace–are quite remarkable.”

In his letter of nomination, Gregory L. Fenves, UT Austin president, wrote, “Tom is a valued colleague, an inspiring mentor, and an insightful elder statesman in the field of engineering.” He also noted that the International Congress of Mathematicians–which holds a congress every four years as the largest and most important event in the field of mathematics–selected Hughes
to represent the field of numerical analysis at its 2010 event.

“In the history of this congress, which spans more than 100 years, [Dr. Hughes] was only the second engineer to have been invited to deliver a plenary lecture,” said Fenves. The first was Theodore von Karman in 1928.

Hughes, received his B.E. and M.E. degrees in mechanical engineering from the Pratt Institute and his M.S. in mathematics and Ph.D. in engineering science from the University of California,
Berkeley. He taught at Berkeley, Caltech, and Stanford before joining UT Austin in 2002. He is professor of aerospace engineering and engineering mechanics.

Hughes is the most influential researcher in computer aided engineering and its integration with computer aided design.

His published works have garnered over 85,000 citations and his h-index is 134 (Google
Scholar), making him one of the most cited engineers. He has been identified by ISI Thompson as one of the most highly cited authors in all fields of engineering and scientific computing. The fruits of his work have been implemented in industrial and commercial computer programs that are used throughout the world. He has created entirely new fields of research, such as Stabilized and Variational Multiscale Methods, and Isogeometric Analysis, and continues to lead their development.

Hughes is a member of U.S. National Academy of Sciences, the U.S. National Academy of
Engineering, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and a foreign member of the Royal Society of London, the Austrian Academy of Sciences, and the Istituto Lombardo Accademia di Scienze e Lettere. He has received honorary doctorates from A Coruña, Louvain, Pavia, Padua, Trondheim, and Northwestern Universities.

In 2008, the Special Achievement Award for Young Investigators in Applied Mechanics, given annual by the Applied Mechanics Division of ASME, was renamed the Thomas J.R. Hughes Young Investigators Award.

The SURA Distinguished Scientist Award was established in 2007, commemorating the organization’s 25th Anniversary. SURA’s Development & Relations Committee manages the solicitation, screening and selection of the recipient from a SURA member institution. The president and trustee of each of SURA’s 61-member research universities is eligible to make one nomination for the Distinguished Scientist Award. The award and honorarium will be presented to Dr. Hughes during the morning session of the board meeting on April 19 at the Cook Hotel & Conference Center at LSU.

Posted: April 13, 2017