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NRL researcher receives ASME Lifetime Achievement Award

07 September 2022

From Michelle Patten, U.S. Naval Research Laboratory Corporate Communications

John Michopoulos, Ph.D., U.S. Naval Research Laboratory’s (NRL) Computational Multiphysics Systems Laboratory head, received the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) Computers and Information in Engineering (CIE) Lifetime Achievement Award.

John Michopoulos, Ph.D., U.S. Naval Research Laboratory’s (NRL) Computational Multiphysics Systems Laboratory head, received the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) Computers and Information in Engineering (CIE) Lifetime Achievement Award.
The award was presented Aug. 15, during a ceremony at the International Design Engineering Technical Conferences and CIE Conference in St. Louis, Missouri, and is the highest award bestowed by the ASME CIE division. The award’s commendation is, “In recognition of outstanding lifetime achievements in advancing the discipline of computers and information in engineering.”
“Doctor Michopoulos has been a vital part of NRL’s mission since 1986,” Virginia DeGiorgi, Ph.D., superintendent of NRL’s Materials Science and Technology Division said. “He has always been willing to address new and emerging problems, never satisfied to rest on his laurels.”
Among the many accomplishments credited to Michopoulos is the development of the first autonomous recursive six degrees of freedom (6-DoF) robotic testing system. This system was designed to generate all the necessary material response data for physics-based machine learning to characterize their response and test materials under loading emulating in-service conditions.
At NRL ongoing extensions of this technology enable studying multiaxial and multiphysics fatigue of materials. Michopoulos and his group also created forward and inverse multiphysics and multiscale theories and machine learning models along with the associated computational tools and methodologies to generate digital twins for the characterization, performance prediction, qualification and certification of many material systems and platforms including those produced by the additive manufacturing processes in the spirit of Integrated Computational Materials Engineering principles.
“As an example, our group [the Computational Multiphysics Systems Laboratory] has developed technology that performs multiscale morphology optimization,” Michopoulos said. “This determines the shape of structures that is the best possible for performing multiple functions. It allows us to tailor the shape and morphology of a part for maximizing a desired performance.”
Michopoulos credits his early curiosity and inspiration in the field of science and engineering to the mentors he had starting from a young age.
“I was fortunate to have teachers and mentors who inspired me and fertilized my desire to pursue a career of trying to answer questions in science and technology, and do it in such a way that obstacles should not be considered as difficulties but rather as opportunities,” Michopoulos said.
Mentorship continues to play a key role in Michopoulos’ career with both students and colleagues. He has held leadership roles throughout ASME’s CIE division, serving on the CIE Executive Committee from 2008-2013. He has chaired the 2011 CIE conference and has co-chaired the 2012 CIE conference, organizing numerous workshops and sessions in them and all subsequent conferences.
“In addition to his technical accomplishments, he has used his skills as a teacher, mentor and collaborator to develop the next generation of scientific leaders for NRL,” DeGiorgi said.
Other notable achievements in the course of Michopoulos’ career are the publication of four books, 15 peer-reviewed book chapters, 91 peer-reviewed journal publications, 259 peer-reviewed conference papers, and 10 patents.
In addition to being recognized as a fellow of the ASME (2013), he has been honored with numerous scientific excellence and leadership awards, to include, the P.S Theocaris Award from the National Academy of Athens in 2013, the 2014 Wolfram Innovator award from Wolfram Research, Inc., ASME’s 2015 Excellence in Research Award, and the 2021 Sigma Xi Edison Chapter award for Applied Sciences.
His collaboration with industrial partners for several applied sciences projects has been demonstrated via multiple Cooperative Research and Development Agreements where the research products of the group have been and are being transitioned to practice within Department of Defense interests.
“Awards like the Lifetime Achievement Award may seem to provide a validation that others find your efforts useful, but they are not capable of revealing the incredible collaboration and synergy within the Computational Multiphysics Systems Laboratory members, who have all contributed to the successes led to this award,” Michopoulos said. “Really this award is a reflection of not just my work, but also the work of all nine members of the group, plus the unwavering support of my family.”
Michopoulos maintains his dedication to education by serving as a mentor to many Naval Research Enterprise Intern Program students and summer faculty.
He offered this advice for early career researchers, “Find the dream or goal that scares you. A goal that you feel is impossible in so many ways, and then go after it. You’ll be pleasantly surprised about what you can achieve when you aim higher than you think you can achieve.”
Founded in 1880, ASME is a not-for-profit membership organization with over 90,000 members worldwide that enables collaboration, knowledge sharing, career enrichment, and skills development across all engineering disciplines. The goal and mission of ASME is to help the global engineering community develop solutions to benefit lives and livelihoods and promote the art, science and practice of mechanical and multidisciplinary engineering and allied sciences to diverse communities throughout the world.
About the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory
NRL is a scientific and engineering command dedicated to research that drives innovative advances for the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps from the seafloor to space and in the information domain. NRL is located in Washington, D.C. with major field sites in Stennis Space Center, Mississippi; Key West, Florida; Monterey, California, and employs approximately 3,000 civilian scientists, engineers and support personnel.
For more information, contact NRL Corporate Communications at (202) 480-3746 or


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