Pol D. Spanos
Lewis B. Ryon Professor in Mechanical Engineering and Materials Sciences


Dr. Pol D. Spanos' research efforts focus on the dynamics and vibrations of structural and mechanical systems under a variety of loads. Systems exhibiting nonlinear behavior and/or exposed to risk inducing conditions receive particular attention. His group is also interested in fatigue and fracture issues of modern composite materials, and in signal processing algorithims for biomedical applications.

Professor Spanos develops primarily analytic and numerical methods that often require advanced scientific computation packages and supercomputers. The mathematical models used involve deterministic and stochastic differential/difference equations that are often incorporated in finite element and other numerical codes, and in many design procedures. Also, Monte Carlo random simulation approaches are developed/used along with advanced techniques for signal processing and safety assessment involving digital filters and wavelets transforms.

Solution techniques developed by Professor Spanos are applied to such themes as estimation of seismic spectra; flow-induced vibrations of offshore rigs, marine risers, and pipelines; certification of payloads in space shuttle/station missions; directional oil well drilling; vibration and aseismic protection of structures and equipment; wind loads simulation; and signal processing of electrocardiograms and electroencephalograms.

Professor Spanos received an National Science Foundation (NSF) Presidential Young Investigator Award for 1984-89. He is also the 1982 and 1991 American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) Medalist for outstanding achievement in mechanical engineering within ten and twenty years from college graduation, a 1988 Huber Prize recipient for outstanding research from the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), the 1992 A. M. Freudenthal Medalist from ASCE for lifetime contributions to probabilistic mechanics and reliability analysis, and the 1999 Newmark Medalist from ASCE for his contributions to the theory and applications of dynamics and vibrations. In 1995 he received the Research Award for Senior Scientists from the Humboldt Foundation in Germany for his contributions to Engineering Mechanics, and in 1997 the Stochastic Dynamics Research Prize from the International Association for Structural Safety and Reliability (IASSAR) in Kyoto, Japan. He received the G. R. Brown Award for Superior Teaching at Rice University, in 1995 and 1996. He has been designated an ASME Distinguished Lecturer for the period 1997-2003 with worldwide lecturing engagements.

He has published more than 250 technical papers and has authored/edited 16 books and conference volumes. He serves on the editorial boards of many journals and he is the Editor-in-Chief of the International Journal of Non-Linear Mechanics (launched in 1965) and the Managing Co-Editor of the Journal of Probabilistic Engineering Mechanics (launched in 1985). He has supervised the theses of 31 M.S. students and the dissertations of 25 Ph.D. students. His work has been funded by NSF, NASA, DOE and by numerous other industrial and governmental programs.

He has offered, worldwide, many professional short courses. He has consulted extensively as a Technical Advisor, as an Expert Witness, and as a Special Federal Court Master. He is a Registered Professional Engineer.

He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Mechanics (AAM), the American Society of Civil Engineers, the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, and the Alexander von Houmboldt Association af America. He is a member (by invitaion) of the Earthquake Engineering Research Institute, the International Association for Structural Safety and Reliability, the American Society of Engineering Education, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

B.S. (1973) National Technical University, Greece
M.S. (1974) California Institute of Technology
Ph.D (1976) California Institute of Technology


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