Thomas J.R. Hughes Receives Two Major Awards

July 14, 2022

photo of thomas hughes in visualization lab

Thomas J.R. Hughes has been awarded the William Benter Prize in Applied Mathematics by the City University of Hong Kong (CityU) for his significant contributions to applying mathematics to solving cross-disciplinary problems.

The William Benter Prize in Applied Mathematics recognizes outstanding mathematical contributions that have had a direct and fundamental impact on scientific, business, finance and engineering applications. Hughes is a Professor of Aerospace Engineering and Engineering Mechanics and Leader of the Oden Institute’s Computational Mechanics Group at the University of Texas at Austin.

Described as a “phenomenal leader in the field of computational science, engineering and mathematics,” the judges highlighted Hughes’ creation of isogeometric analysis: a mathematical approach that applies finite element basis methods to integrating computer-aided design (CAD) and computer-aided engineering (CAE). “His fundamental paper on this topic has been cited over 6,000 times on Google Scholar and is widely referred to throughout industry, national labs and academia.”

Hughes shares the CityU accolade with Professor Michael S. Waterman from the University of Southern California and founder of the field of bioinformatics and computational biology.

Hughes is also the recipient of the 2022 Monie A. Ferst Award. Since 1977, the Georgia Institute of Technology Chapter of Sigma Xi Monie A. Ferst Award has honored science and engineering teachers who have inspired their students to significant research achievements.

The national award recognizes those who have made "notable contributions to the motivation and encouragement of research through education."

Citing Hughes’ impact as one of the most “widely cited authors in Engineering Science,” the judges noted the profound impact his work has had on industry: “the finite element numerical methods he has pioneered have been implemented in every contemporary commercial finite element code, and today are used daily throughout the world in all areas of engineering design, including design of aerospace and automotive vehicles, biomedical devices, electronics, energy systems, infrastructure, mechanical products, structural systems, and more generally for the design of energy systems, infrastructure, mechanical products, structural systems, and more generally for the design of any engineering product or process that is governed by solid and structural mechanics, and fluid dynamics phenomena.”

Among many other awards and accolades, Hughes is an elected member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, the U.S. National Academy of Engineering, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the Royal Society of London, the Austrian Academy of Sciences (Section for Mathematics and the Physical Sciences), the Istituto Lombardo Accademia di Scienze e Lettere (Mathematics Section), and the Academy of Medicine, Engineering and Science of Texas.