Elsevier, together with IUTAM, are delighted to announce that the winner of the second quadrennial Rodney Hill Prize in Solid Mechanics is Professor Huajian Gao, the Walter H. Annenberg Professor of Engineering, Brown University, RI, USA.

Founded and sponsored by Elsevier Limited and awarded under the auspices of IUTAM, the prize recognises outstanding research in the field of solid mechanics during the period 2002-11 and consists of a plaque and a check for $25,000. To read more about the prize, click here.

Huajian Gao was selected by the panel for his deep and broad scientific achievements in basic solid mechanics. His work encompasses fundamental theory as well as applications to materials science, nanotechnology, and bioengineering and his highly cited publications appear not only in the major solid mechanics journals but also in many high-profile, cross-disciplinary journals.

Most notably, he has:

•    Established new links between solid mechanics and other fundamental fields of study, including biophysics and materials science, that have literally redefined the frontiers of modern solid mechanics research;
•    Introduced the concept of hierarchical materials into the field, a strategy by which nature has combined materials with widely differing mechanical properties at small size scales in order to achieve remarkable levels of stiffness, failure resistance, and other unusual properties;
•    Provided a fundamental explanation for the size dependence of endocytosis, the process by which viruses enter and leave living cells in the spread of infectious disease;
•    Applied fundamental mechanics analysis to show that a DNA molecule can insert itself into a single-walled carbon nanotube, a possibility relevant to the process of gene delivery;
•    Used nanoscale analysis to provide a fundamental explanation of apparent discrepancies between continuum models and atomistic models of material behavior at the edge of a crack in crystalline materials.

Professor Gao will deliver a Prize Lecture at the International Congress of Theoretical and Applied Mechanics (ICTAM) to be held in August 2012 in Beijing. The award will be presented prior to the lecture.