Zhejiang University: Two ZJU professors named CAS and CAE foreign members respectively in 2021

Recently, two Qiushi Chair professors of Zhejiang University, Prof. Hywel Rhys Thomas and Prof. Billie F. Spencer Jr., have been elected as foreign members of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) and the Chinese Academy of Engineering (CAE) respectively, China’s highest honor for foreign scientists.




“Election as a Foreign Member of the CAS is a very great honor. It is undoubtedly one of the highlights of my professional career. I have already benefitted so much from working with so many highly talented colleagues from China,” said Prof. Thomas, Professor of Civil Engineering at Cardiff University, former Pro-Vice Chancellor of Cardiff and Qiushi Chair Professor at Zhejiang University, who has been collaborating with colleagues from Zhejiang University over the past 20 years in the research and talent training.

His research interests lie in the area of “Coupled Processes in the Ground” which investigates the burial of nuclear waste and the complex behavior of water, gas, heat and chemicals below ground. His work has covered a wide range of geoenvironmental issues, from coupled multiphysics and geochemistry flow problems in soils and rocks, to waste disposal, including nuclear waste. His current interests are focused on the geoenergy field, with major projects on ground source heat, underground coal gasification, exploitation of unconventional gas and carbon sequestration in coal seams.

Prof. Thomas’ academic achievements have been recognized by election as a Fellow of the Royal Society in 2012, a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering in 2003, a Member of Academia Europaea, the Academy of Europe in 2012 and a Fellow of the Learned Society of Wales in 2011. He was made an Honorary Professor at Zhejiang University in 2017. He is currently the President of the Learned Society of Wales. Prof. Thomas is also Editor-In-Chief for Computers and Geotechnics, a Q1 Elsevier flagship journal in computational geomechanics.




“I am truly pleased to be counted among the many outstanding members of the CAE and feel very fortunate to have so many good colleagues and friends in China who have supported me over the years. I hope that we can meet in person at ZJUI in China sometime soon and celebrate together, said Prof. Spencer, Nathan M. and Anne M. Newmark Endowed Chair at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Qiushi Chair Professor at Zhejiang University and ZJUI’s adjunct professor, who currently serves as co-director of ZJU-UIUC Joint Research Center for Infrastructure Resilience in Cities as Livable Environments (CIRCLE).

Focusing on intelligent structures, Prof. Spencer pioneered research and development of smart dampers based on magnetorheological fluid technology, enabling the world’s first engineering application. He made breakthroughs in open-source hardware/software architectures for wireless sensor technology for structural health monitoring, achieving the world’s largest implementation of smart sensors. Prof. Spencer led the National Science Foundation’s Network for Earthquake Engineering Simulation (NEES) system integration project and built the most advanced real-time hybrid simulation load and boundary condition system. He has also developed computationally-efficient solutions for topology optimization of stochastically excited structures.

Prof. Spencer is a Fellow of ASCE, a Foreign Member of the Polish Academy of Sciences, the North American Editor-in-Chief of Smart Structures and Systems, and the Executive Managing Editor of Earthquake Engineering and Engineering Vibration. His academic achievements have been recognized by numerous awards, including the ASCE Housner Structural Control and Monitoring Medal, and the ASCE Newmark Medal. As a Global Highly Cited Scholar in Civil Engineering by Shanghai Ranking Consultancy and Elsevier, Prof. Spencer has published more than 360 papers and been cited 40,855 times with h-index of 82.

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