Sutton one of the greatest scientists applied mechanics has ever seen – UofSC News & Events

Michael Sutton represents the UofSC College of Engineering and Computing.

With his receipt of the Timoshenko Medal, Michael Sutton will receive the highest possible recognition in his field of research.



This is Michael Sutton’s lifetime achievement award. His induction into the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame. His Pulitzer Prize, Grammy, Emmy, Tony. His Heisman trophy; maybe even his Nobel Prize.

When Sutton receives the 2022 Timoshenko Medal on November 2, he will be officially recognized as one of the greatest scientists applied mechanics has ever seen.

“Only people who have made significant contributions in the field have ever been considered for the Timoshenko Medal,” Sutton say. “I taught classes using books written by two of the medalists. During my Ph.D. studies at the University of Illinois, a former graduate student of previous Timoshenko medalist James Rice taught my fracture mechanics lesson using Professor Rice’s notes. So being in the same room, being in the same conversation, as those individuals, is just hard for me to believe. I feel really humbled if anyone thinks that what we’ve accomplished here would be fit for such a high honour.”

Sutton is a professor at the UofSC College of Engineering and Computing since 1981. His research during that time focused on the creation, application and global technology transfer of the digital image correlation (DIC) method, which is now used by industry and research titans such as NASA, Proctor and Gamble, Boeing and the US military for testing structures and materials.

The Timoshenko Medal is widely regarded as the highest international award in applied mechanics. Mike’s receipt of this award confirms his pioneering legacy in the field and rightly recognizes the transformative impact of his work.

Hossein Haj-Hariri, Dean of the UofSC College of Engineering and Computing

This technology has benefited both engineering researchers and, through its commitment to technology transfer by aiding the founding of South Carolina-based Correlated Solutions Incorporated, has spread globally to a wide variety of industries including manufacturing, biomedicine, aerospace and the development of military systems. The wide-ranging impact of his contributions across the entire field of mechanical engineering led to his recent induction into the most prestigious academy of engineering, the National Academy of Engineering, in 2020 and his receipt of the 2021 Engineering Science Medal from the Society of Engineering Science

But more than that, its contributions have improved and will continue to improve the safety and well-being of people around the world. For example, DIC technology has increased railway safety, improved bridge inspection effectiveness and increased the reliability of manufacturing standards. As DIC is coupled with simulation platforms, machine learning and artificial intelligence, along with increasing integration in civil engineering, its impact will only increase.

“Dr. Sutton is representative of the global impact our faculty and their research can have, and how this university provides the support needed to drive this tremendous level of success,” says Stephen Cutler, interim provost in South Carolina. “Dr. Sutton’s work will continue to benefit people around the world for decades to come, and I am very proud that this work has happened at the University of South Carolina.”

Established in 1957 as one of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers’ achievement awards, the Timoshenko Medal is awarded to “distinguished individuals” in the field of applied mechanics who have made transformative contributions to the field of mechanical engineering. The long-term impact of Sutton’s work was highlighted by Guruswami Ravichandran, who noted in 2018 that the DIC method is the most important advance in measurement science since 1900 and will most likely be the gold standard for the next century or more.

“The Timoshenko Medal is widely regarded as the highest international award in applied mechanics,” says Hossein Haj-Hariri, dean of the UofSC College of Engineering and Computing. “Mike’s receipt of this award confirms his pioneering legacy in the field and rightly recognizes the transformative impact of his work.”


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FacultyRecognitionCollege of Engineering and Computing

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