Mary Boyce Receives the 2024 Benjamin Franklin Medal in Mechanical Engineering

Mary C. Boyce, professor of mechanical engineering at Columbia University in New York, has received the 2024 Benjamin Franklin Medal in Mechanical Engineering from the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia for her “transformative contributions to our understanding of the physical behavior of polymers, materials made of long chains of molecules, leading to innovative product development of rubber and other soft materials.”

Dr. Boyce began her career in higher education as an assistant professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where she taught for 25 years. In her tenure with the institute, she served as department head of mechanical engineering, the Gail E. Kendall Professor of Mechanical Engineering, and the Ford Professor of Engineering. In 2013, she became the first woman to serve as dean of engineering at Columbia University, where she also served as the Morris A. and Alma Schapiro Professor of Engineering, before becoming provost of the university in 2021. In 2023, Dr. Boyce stepped down from her provost position to focus on teaching and research full-time.

Throughout her career, Dr. Boyce has received numerous awards for her contributions to the field of mechanical engineering including the 2015 Engineering Science Medal by the Society of Engineering Science and the 2020 Timoshenko Medal for Advances in Applied Mechanics from the American Society of Mechanical Engineers. She is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, the American Academy of Mechanics, and the American Society of Mechanical Engineers.

“I am deeply honored to receive the 2024 Benjamin Franklin Medal,” Dr. Boyce said. “I feel that this recognition reflects my collaborative work with so many talented students, postdocs, and colleagues over many years. The award also highlights the importance and incredible impact of fundamental mechanics of materials, particularly multiscale microstructure and nonlinear behavior, in underlying the design and understanding of so much of the world around us.”

Dr. Boyce earned a bachelor’s degree from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. She received a master’s degree and Ph.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

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