Montana State University

MSU engineering professor emeritus wins medal for contributions to materials science

July 9, 2010 -- MSU News Service


MSU professor emeritus John Mandell recently received the Golden Mirko Ros Medal for his valuable and sustained contributions to materials science. Mandell is pictured here with the medal and Cornelia Bodmer-Ros, Mirko Ros' granddaughter, in Zurich, Switzerland. Photo courtesy of John Mandell.   High-Res Available

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MSU News Service
Tel: (406) 994-4571
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John Mandell, a Montana State University engineering professor emeritus, has won a medal for his contributions to materials science.

Mandell received the Golden Mirko Ros Medal in June from Empa, an interdisciplinary research institution for material sciences and technology in Switzerland. The medal was given for Mandell's valuable and sustained contributions to materials science, especially his study of wind turbine blades, and how composite materials such as carbon fiber and fiberglass hold up over time. He was also recognized for his support in building up the Empa laboratories for polymers and advanced composites between 1971 and 1988; Mandell worked for the laboratory briefly in the '70s and collaborated with them after that.

"I was astonished, but it was very nice to be recognized for things I've accomplished," Mandell said. Event organizers and the people Mandell was visiting in Switzerland kept the award a secret from him until he received it, Mandell said.

Mandell taught in the MSU Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering from 1988 until his retirement in 2008. His work is essentially about compressing time, plugging lab data into various models and trying to predict how particular composite materials will hold up -- over years or decades -- to the tug of gravity and the stress of wind. In retirement, he continues to run a research lab at MSU, studying wind turbine blades.

The Golden Mirko Ros Medal honors the life's work of Empa's supporters and partners in the field of materials and engineering science. The medal, made of gold, was created by the Swiss artist Hans Erni and is named after former Empa director Mirko Ros, who led the organization from 1924 to 1949.

John Mandell, (406) 994-4543 or johnm@coe.montana.edu