Jan D. Achenbach
Mos 05achenbach h.jpg
Jan D. Achenbach receiving the 2005 National Medal of Science from president George W. Bush
Born(1935-08-20)20 August 1935
Leeuwarden, Netherlands
Died22 August 2020(2020-08-22) (aged 85)
Alma materDelft University of Technology;
Stanford University
Known forWave Motion
AwardsWilliam Prager Medal (2001)
National Medal of Technology
National Medal of Science
Theodore von Karman Medal (2010)
ASME Medal (2012)
Timoshenko Medal
Scientific career
FieldsSolid mechanics
InstitutionsColumbia University;
Northwestern University
Doctoral advisorChi-Chang Chao

Jan Drewes Achenbach (20 August 1935 – 22 August 2020)[1] was a professor emeritus (Walter P. Murphy Professor and Distinguished McCormick School Professor) at Northwestern University. Achenbach was born in the northern region of the Netherlands, in Leeuwarden. He studied aeronautics at Delft University of Technology, which he finished with a M.Sc. degree in 1959. Thereafter, he went to the United States, Stanford University, where he received his Ph.D. degree in 1962. After working for a year as a preceptor at Columbia University, he was then appointed as assistant professor at Northwestern University.[2]

Achenbach has developed methods for flaw detection and characterization by using contact transducers, imaging techniques and laser-based ultrasonics. He has also developed methods for thin-layer characterization by acoustic microscopy. Work is both analytical and experimental in nature, with extensive cooperation with investigators from other universities and from industrial organizations on theoretical experimental projects. Work in fracture mechanics has been primarily on dynamic fracture. He also carried out research on structural acoustics and on the mechanical behavior of composite materials.

Achenbach is the founding editor-in-chief of Wave Motion. He was editor in chief from the journal's establishment in 1979, until 2012.

Honors and awards


Memberships and fellowships




  1. ^ Brian Sandalow (25 August 2020). "Professor Emeritus Jan D. Achenbach Passes Away". McCormick School of Engineering, Northwestern University.
  2. ^ "Professor Achenbach, Research". Northwestern University. Retrieved 2 February 2013.
  3. ^ "ASME Medal". ASME. Retrieved 16 November 2012.
  4. ^ "Theodore von Karman Medal". ASCE. Archived from the original on 5 July 2010. Retrieved 15 December 2010.
  5. ^ "President to Award 2005–2006 National Medals of Science and National Medals of Technology Honoring Nation's Leading Researchers, Inventors and Innovators". National Science Foundation. Retrieved 15 December 2010.
  6. ^ "Achenbach Awarded National Medal of Technology by President Bush". Northwestern University. Retrieved 15 December 2010.
  7. ^ "Jan D. Achenbach receives William Prager Medal". Journal of the Acoustical Society of America. 110 (5): 2238. 2001. Bibcode:2001ASAJ..110.2238.. doi:10.1121/1.4734372. Archived from the original on 9 July 2012. Retrieved 31 January 2020.
  8. ^ "AAM outstanding service award recipients". American Academy of Mechanics. Archived from the original on 20 July 2011. Retrieved 15 December 2010.
  9. ^ "Team Wins Model of Excellence Award" (PDF). Center for Nondestructive Evaluation News. 7 (2): 8. 1996. Archived from the original (PDF) on 12 June 2010. Retrieved 15 December 2010.
  10. ^ "Timoshenko Medal". ASME. Retrieved 15 December 2010.
  11. ^ "Past National Award Winners – Curtis W. McGraw Research Award". American Society of Engineering Education. Archived from the original on 13 February 2011. Retrieved 15 December 2010.
  12. ^ "Book of Members, 1780-2010: Chapter A" (PDF). American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Retrieved 1 April 2011.
  13. ^ "Jan Achenbach". Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences. Archived from the original on 8 August 2020.


  • Harris, J. G. (2002). "Editorial – A biographical note on Jan D. Achenbach with a foreword to the special issue". Wave Motion. 36 (4): 307–309. doi:10.1016/S0165-2125(02)00026-4.
  • Bazant, Zdenek P.; Qu, Jianmin (2002). "Preface". International Journal of Solids and Structures. 39 (21–22): 5375–5378. doi:10.1016/S0020-7683(02)00353-0. – A volume in honour of Jan D. Achenbach
  • "Contributors". IEEE Transactions on Sonics and Ultrasonics. SU-27 (3): 137–138. 1980. doi:10.1109/T-SU.1980.31164.