Scientists to Honor Robert Scanlan at Hopkins Symposium
"Happy Birthday Bob: Your Tradition Continues" is the theme of the weekend event, to be held on the Homewood campus of the Johns Hopkins University. Numerous papers on aspects of engineering mechanics, as well as testaments to the work of Dr. Scanlan, will be presented during the symposium.
Since retiring from Princeton University in 1984, Dr. Scanlan has been a part-time professor and principal research scientist in the Department of Civil Engineering in the Whiting School of Engineering at Hopkins.
"Bob is at the top of his field," said fellow Hopkins civil engineer Nicholas Jones, an organizer of the symposium who frequently collaborates with Dr. Scanlan on research and consulting projects. "He is not only highly respected technically, but also as the ultimate gentleman and scholar."
Dr. Scanlan, who holds doctorates in mathematics and physics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and in mechanics from the Sorbonne in Paris, has spent some 54 years working in the fields of aeronautics, structural mechanics and acoustics in both industrial and academic settings.
He is considered one of the world's leading authorities on aerodynamics and aeroelasticity, the study of the effects of air flow in causing a structure to move. Dr. Scanlan has written extensively on the topic; former student Emil Simiu, with whom he co-authored Wind Effects on Structures, will be a moderator and speaker at the Hopkins symposium.
In recent years, Dr. Scanlan has consulted on a number of bridge projects, including the aerodynamic design of Kap Shui Mun, a cable-stayed bridge under construction near the new Hong Kong airport, and a proposed superbridge over the Strait of Gibraltar.
He has on two occasions led a review of the wind resistance of the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, and has also recommended modifications to the pavement and deck of the William Preston Lane Jr. Memorial Bridge across the Chesapeake Bay.
Dr. Scanlan, a member of the National Academy of Engineering, has received numerous honors during his career. Among them are the Arthur M. Wellington Prize, for his writing, and the Nathan M. Newmark Medal, in recognition for his contributions to structural engineering. Both honors were bestowed by the American Society of Civil Engineers.
"Having a fair number of problems and throwing your mind at them is great sport," said Dr. Scanlan. "Some of my ideas are being used around the world, and that's a satisfaction."
According to Dr. Jones, his mentor is much too modest. "You can rarely pick up a published paper in this field that doesn't reference his work in some way," Dr. Jones said. "And I don't consider this symposium to be capping his career. We all hope he'll be around for a long time to come."
To arrange an interview with Dr. Scanlan, or for specific information on symposium events, call Ken Keatley at (410) 516- 7907.
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