Walter P. Murphy and Distinguished McCormick School Professor Emeritus of Civil
Achenbach is Walter P. Murphy and Distinguished McCormick School Professor Emeritus of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Engineering Sciences and Applied Mathematics, and Mechanical Engineering at McCormick.
Born in the Netherlands, Achenbach became a member of Northwestern's faculty in 1963. Since then, he has become highly respected for his work in the areas of wave propagation in solids and for pioneering the field of quantitative non-destructive evaluation.
Achenbach received a National Medal of Technology in 2003 for his contributions to engineering research and education and for pioneering methods for detecting dangerous cracks and corrosion in aircraft, advances that have led to improved air safety. He was also awarded a 2005 National Medal of Science, the nation's highest honor for innovation in technology and science.
He was elected a member of the National Academy of Engineering in 1982, a member of the National Academy of Sciences in 1992, and a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1994. In 1999, he was elected a corresponding member of the Royal Dutch Academy of Sciences, and in 2009, he was elected a fellow of the World Class Universities Program of the National Research Foundation of Korea. He is also an honorary member of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers and a fellow of ASME, ASA, SES, AMA, and AAAS.
His awards include the 2012 ASME Medal, the Timoshenko Medal, the William Prager Medal, and the Theodore von Karman Medal. In 2011, he was awarded a rare honorary doctorate degree from China's Zhejiang University.
Achenbach is founder of Northwestern's Center for Quality Engineering and Failure Prevention, a state-of-the-art laboratory for quality control in structural mechanics.