Mechanics and geosciences expert honored for seminal contributions to strain localization, poromechanics and friction
The 2012 Louis Néel Medal has been awarded to James R. Rice for his seminal contributions to the fundamental understanding of strain localization, poromechanics and friction.
The award committee praised his elegant and systematic studies that have elucidated fault mechanics and the coupling with hydrologic and thermal processes during all phases of the earthquake cycle.
This medal, given on behalf of the European Geosciences Union, is reserved for individuals in recognition of outstanding achievements in rock magnetism and rock physics and geomaterials.
Rice, Mallinckrodt Professor of Engineering Sciences and Geophysics in the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) and the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences (EPS) at Harvard, is widely recognized as the world’s leading researcher in solid mechanics over the last four decades, having contributed so broadly not only in engineering, but also in geosciences.
His early contributions in the areas of solid mechanics and materials science include the theory of crack propagation in elastic-plastic material, mechanics of void formation and ductile fracture, as well as formulation of inelastic constitutive relations.
Rice’s invention of the path-independent J-integral forms the basis for the practical application of nonlinear fracture mechanics to the development of standards for the safety of structures. Since the 1970s, he has shifted his research interest to also focus on fundamental mechanics problems that arise in seismology, tectonophysics and geomechanics.