2015 International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition honors Romesh Batra
Romesh C. Batra, who holds the Clifton C. Garvin Professorship at Virginia Tech, is the recipient of a 2015 American Society of Mechanical Engineers' (ASME) Honorary Membership award, given to no more than five people worldwide annually.
ASME cited Batra for his "outstanding mentoring of more than 100 graduate students and postdoctoral fellows; and for pioneering work in applied mechanics including rubber-covered rolls, nonlinear elasticity, laminated plates, functionally graded structures, instabilities in microelectromechanical systems, mechanical characterization of carbon nanotubes, and adiabatic shear banding."
Working with his students, Batra has assisted in the development of numerous new designs and products. For example, he has led teams in the improved design of different types of armors such as bulletproof vests, tank walls, and shields to protect vehicles against an improvised explosive device generated blast. He has also characterized carbon nanotubes for designing lighter and more efficient fuel planes that he believes will surpass Boeing's new 787 Dreamliner aircraft.
He has also studied micro-electro-mechanical systems that open up air bags in a car crash upon impact and smart materials that monitor their own vibrations and make car rides quieter and smoother.
Batra joined Virginia Tech in 1994 and is a member of the biomedical engineering and mechanics department. In addition to teaching graduate level courses in continuum mechanics, nonlinear elasticity, and the finite element method, Batra's responsibilities include mentoring graduate students in their dissertation research, collaborating in research with postdoctoral fellows and visiting scientists, and enhancing the visibility of the department and college internationally.
Batra developed his passion for teaching and sharing knowledge with others as a high school and undergraduate student in India. After completing his education in Canada and the U.S., Batra spent 1972-74 as a postdoctoral researcher, first at Johns Hopkins University and then at McMaster University in Ontario. He started his teaching career as a visiting assistant professor at the University of Missouri--Rolla (now Missouri University of Science and Technology), and was promoted to professor in 1982.
Batra has served as the faculty adviser to 32 Ph.D. students and 17 master's candidates, and collaborated with more than 50 postdoctoral fellows and/or visiting scientists from all over the world. He is presently mentoring five Ph.D. students, co-mentoring three Ph.D. students, and working with three postdoctoral fellows and two visiting scientists.
His group has published 400 peer-reviewed papers in high-impact journals, and he has given various plenary/memorial lectures. His graduate-level textbook titled Elements of Continuum Mechanics, published by the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics in 2006, is used at many universities, and his lectures on the subject are available on YouTube. According to scholar.google.com, he has more than 12,000 citations with an h-index of 55.
An ASME Fellow, Batra was the organizer and co-chair of the 2002 U.S. National Congress on Theoretical and Applied Mechanics, sponsored by ASME and other professional societies. Batra served as associate technical editor of the Journal of Engineering Materials and Technology (1996-2000) and chair of the Applied Mechanics Division's Elasticity Committee (1995-2000). He has organized symposia at the Society's International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition, and he co-edited four books/journal volumes published by ASME.
Batra is also a Fellow of the American Academy of Mechanics, the American Society for Engineering Education, the Society of Engineering Science (SES) and the U.S. Association for Computational Mechanics.
His extensive list of other honors includes selection as a 2013 Fulbright Specialist in Nonlinear Solid Mechanics, Virginia's Outstanding Scientist in 2011, Virginia Outstanding Faculty Member in 2010, SES's Engineering Science Medal 2009, the International Conference on Computational Engineering and Sciences' 2000 Eric Reissner Medal, the1992 Alexander von Humboldt Award for Senior Scientists, and numerous faculty awards.
Batra received his bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering from Thapar University, Patiala, India. He was awarded his master's degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Waterloo, Ontario. He earned his Ph.D. in mechanics and materials science from Johns Hopkins University. Batra received a D.Sc. honoris causa from Thapar University in 2006; he is one of only three people honored with this degree since the university was founded in 1956.