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National Science Foundation

Jan D. Achenbach (1935 )

Jan D. Achenbach
Jan D. Achenbach with President George W. Bush.
Credit: Ryan K. Morris, National Science and Technology Medals Foundation

National Medal of Science recipient in 2005 "for his seminal contributions to engineering research and education in the area of wave propagation in solids and for pioneering the field of quantitative, non-destructive evaluation."

"My activities in the field of applied mechanics, of almost 30 years, have...been an endless summer looking for the perfect wave."

Jan D. Achenbach was born in the Netherlands in 1935. After studying aeronautics at the Delft University of Technology, he came to the United States and received his Ph.D. in aeronautics and astronautics from Stanford University.

Achenbach is Professor Emeritus at Northwestern University and has been the editor-in-chief of Wave Motion, a peer-reviewed journal on the physics of waves, since 1979. In his acceptance speech for the 1992 Timoshenko Medal (an award given by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers in recognition of distinguished contributions to the field of applied mechanics), Achenbach evoked various sports metaphors to describe the relationship between research advisor and student, comparing, for example, the research advisor to a golf caddy and a quarterback.

"My activities in the field of applied mechanics, of almost 30 years, have...been an endless summer looking for the perfect wave."

--Jan D. Achenbach

Achenback is one of 12 individuals who received both the National Medal of Science and the National Medal of Technology.

Any opinions, findings, conclusions or recommendations presented in this material are only those of the presenter grantee/researcher, author, or agency employee; and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.