Caltech: Ares Rosakis Awarded Horace Mann Medal

Brown University awarded the Horace Mann Medal to Ares Rosakis, Theodore von Kármán Professor of Aeronautics and Mechanical Engineering, as an outstanding alumnus.

Rosakis, who earned master’s and doctoral degrees from the university in 1980 and 1982, respectively, was recognized for his research and mentoring skills, as well as being “a champion of societal impact that can be realized through the sciences,” said Larry Larson, Sorensen Family Dean of the Brown School of Engineering, in his nomination.

“It feels so very special to be honored by one’s own alma mater,” says Rosakis, who joined Caltech’s faculty in 1982 and served as the director of GALCIT from 2003 to 2009 and as chair of the Division of Engineering and Applied Science from 2009 to 2015.

The Horace Mann Medal is given each year to a Brown Graduate School alumnus or alumna who has made significant contributions in his or her field. Rosakis received the award at Brown University’s commencement ceremony on May 1.

His research interests span a wide spectrum of length and time scales and range from the mechanics of earthquake seismology to the physical processes involved in the catastrophic failure of aerospace materials to the reliability of micro-electronic and opto-electronic structures and devices. In 2000, he experimentally discovered the existence of supershear, or intersonic, earthquake ruptures (in which the speed of the rupture exceeds the velocity of seismic shear waves) with Hiroo Kanamori, the John E. and Hazel S. Smits Professor of Geophysics, Emeritus.

Rosakis has received numerous honors and awards throughout his career. He was elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 2016 and is also a member of the National Academy of Engineering, a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and a member of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. In 2017, he was elected Honorary Fellow of the International Congress on Fracture and Fellow of the American Geophysical Union. He has also received the Theodore von Kármán Medal (2016) from the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) and the Timoshenko Medal (2018) of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME), the highest applied mechanics honors awarded by these societies.