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Yonggang Huang elected to National Academy of Engineering

Stretchable and flexible electronics pioneer receives prestigious honor

Yonggang Huang

EVANSTON - Northwestern University’s Yonggang Huang, whose work has led to major advancements in stretchable and flexible electronics with biomedical applications, has been elected to the National Academy of Engineering (NAE).

Election to the academy is among the highest professional distinctions accorded to an engineer. Huang is one of 84 new members and 22 new foreign members announced by the NAE today (Feb. 8). 

Huang, whose recent work includes a wearable electronic device for on-the-spot health monitoring, was cited by the NAE for “pioneering work on mechanics of stretchable electronics and mechanically guided, deterministic 3-D assembly.”

Huang is a Walter P. Murphy Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering and Mechanical Engineering and professor of materials science and engineering in the McCormick School of Engineering.

“We are tremendously proud of Yonggang,” said Julio M. Ottino, dean of the McCormick School and an NAE member. “He exemplifies research excellence at the highest level, a strong commitment to education and outstanding collegiality.”

The NAE acts as the federal government’s chief advisory agency on engineering and technology issues.

Huang develops mechanical models for stretchable and flexible electronics for use in biomedical devices and energy harvesting. He specifically works on device design and optimization. Potential applications of his technology include thin “tattoo-like” sensors placed on the skin; implantable devices, such as pacemakers, defibrillators and heart-rate monitors; and electrocardiograms and electromyography. Huang also is interested in the 3-D fabrication of complex materials and structures. 

Huang is on a roll with several prestigious honors in the past year. In November, he was awarded the Nadai Medal from the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME), the society’s highest honor in its materials division. Earlier, in September, Huang was selected to receive the William Prager Medal from the Society of Engineering Science, and he also received McCormick’s Cole-Higgins Award for Excellence in Teaching.

Other awards Huang has earned include a Guggenheim Fellowship, the Young Investigator Medal from the Society of Engineering Science and the International Journal of Plasticity Medal. An ISI Highly Cited Researcher in materials science and engineering, Huang also received the Larson Memorial Award, Melville Medal, Richards Memorial Award and Drucker Medal — all from ASME.

Huang, who joined Northwestern in 2007, has published two books and more than 500 publications in international journals, including many papers in the multidisciplinary journals Science and Nature. He is editor-in-chief of the Journal of Applied Mechanics (Transactions of ASME) and a member of the executive committee of the ASME Applied Mechanics Division (chair, 2019-20). Huang was the president of the Society of Engineering Science in 2014.

Founded in 1964, the National Academy of Engineering is a private, independent, nonprofit institution that provides engineering leadership in service to the nation. It has more than 2,000 peer-elected members and foreign associates, senior professionals in business, academia and government, who are among the world’s most accomplished engineers.

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