One of the foremost engineers in the world – Yonggang Huang of Northwestern University – has been elected to the National Academy of Engineering (NAE) – one of the highest professional distinctions according to an engineer. Huang is one of 84 new members and 22 new foreign members announced by the NAE a couple of days back.
Huang is a Walter P. Murphy Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering and Mechanical Engineering and professor of materials science and engineering in the McCormick School of Engineering. His recent work includes a wearable electronic device for on-the-spot health monitoring. NAE cited this work for “pioneering work on mechanics of stretchable electronics and mechanically guided, deterministic 3-D assembly.”
Huang develops mechanical models for stretchable and flexible electronics for use in biomedical devices and energy harvesting. He specifically works on device design and optimization. Potential applications of his technology include thin “tattoo-like” sensors placed on the skin; implantable devices, such as pacemakers, defibrillators and heart-rate monitors; and electrocardiograms and electromyography. Huang also is interested in the 3-D fabrication of complex materials and structures.
Huang is on a roll with several prestigious honors in the past year. In November, he was awarded the Nadai Medal from the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME), the society’s highest honor in its materials division. Earlier, in September, Huang was selected to receive the William Prager Medal from the Society of Engineering Science, and he also received McCormick’s Cole-Higgins Award for Excellence in Teaching.
Other awards Huang has earned include a Guggenheim Fellowship, the Young Investigator Medal from the Society of Engineering Science and the International Journal of Plasticity Medal. An ISI Highly Cited Researcher in materials science and engineering, Huang also received the Larson Memorial Award, Melville Medal, Richards Memorial Award and Drucker Medal — all from ASME.
Huang, who joined Northwestern in 2007, has published two books and more than 500 publications in international journals, including many papers in the multidisciplinary journals Science and Nature. He is editor-in-chief of the Journal of Applied Mechanics (Transactions of ASME) and a member of the executive committee of the ASME Applied Mechanics Division (chair, 2019-20). Huang was the president of the Society of Engineering Science in 2014.
The NAE acts as the federal government’s chief advisory agency on engineering and technology issues.