Melosh Medal Call for Papers

Annual Robert J. Melosh Medal Competition
for the Best Student Paper on Finite Element Analysis

Sponsored by

  • Duke University Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering
  • Elsevier


Endorsed by

  • The International Association for Computational Mechanics

[ Background | Format | Past Judges | Scope | Submission Procedure | Links | Dates | Contact]


The Robert J. Melosh Medal Competition was inaugurated in 1989 to honor Prof. Melosh, a pioneering researcher in finite element methods and former chairman of civil and environmental engineering at Duke. In a professional career that included working at Boeing, Philco-Ford Laboratory, and MARC Analysis and Research Corporation, as well as teaching at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, the University of Washington, Virginia Tech, and Duke University, Professor Melosh made significant and varied contributions to the finite element method. The Competition was established in view of this body of work, and aims to reflect Professor Melosh's dedication to the education of young engineers and researchers by providing a forum for student researchers to present their work and interact with each other and with leading researchers in the field. The winner of the Competition, as determined on the basis of a submitted extended abstract and an oral presentation of the paper, receives the Robert J. Melosh Medal and a $500 honorarium.

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Competition Format

The Competition is conducted in two primary phases.

Initially, extended abstracts are reviewed by a panel of distinguished researchers in computational mechanics. Based on this review, the top six papers are selected as finalists. The student authors are then invited to participate in the second phase of the competition: a symposium held at Duke University (compatible with Duke University’s policies on gathering under the COVID-19 pandemic).

The symposium features lectures by the members of the distinguished judging panel, as well as talks by all selected finalists.

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Past Judges

A key feature of the Competition is the interaction between student finalists and established researchers that is facilitated by the Melosh Medal Symposium. Past competitions have benefited from the participation as judges of several internationally prominent researchers, including:

  • Remi Abgrall, University of Zurich, Switzerland
  • Ted Belytschko, Northwestern University, USA
  • J.S. Chen, University of California, Los Angeles, USA
  • Ray W. Clough, University of California at Berkeley, USA
  • Michael Crisfield, Imperial College, United Kingdom
  • Charbel Farhat, University of Colorado at Boulder, USA
  • Jacob Fish, Rensselaer, USA
  • Joseph E. Flaherty, Rensselaer, USA
  • Richard H. Gallagher, University of Arizona, USA
  • Krishna Garikipari, University of Michigan, USA
  • Omar Ghattas, The University of Texas at Austin, USA
  • Sanjay Govindjee, University of California, Berkeley, USA
  • Antonio Huerta, UPC
  • Thomas J.R. Hughes, University of Texas, Austin, USA
  • Greg Hulbert, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, USA
  • George Karniadakis, Brown University, USA
  • Raymond D. Krieg, University of Tennessee, USA
  • Patrick Le Tallec, Ecole Polytechnique, France
  • Robert J. Melosh, Duke University, USA
  • Joop Nagtegaal, Hibbitt, Karlsson and Sorensen, Inc., USA
  • J. Tinsley Oden, University of Texas at Austin, USA
  • George Peric, Swansea University, United Kingdom
  • Peter Pinsky, Stanford University, USA
  • Ekkehard Ramm, Stuttgart, Germany
  • Mario Ricchiuto, INRIA Bordeaux, France
  • Mark Shephard, Rensselaer, USA
  • James Stewart, Sandia National Laboratories, USA
  • Natarajan Sukumar, University of California, Davis, USA
  • Robert L. Taylor, University of California,Berkeley, USA
  • Haim Waisman, Columbia University, USA
  • Wolfgang A. Wall, Technische Universität München, Germany
  • Mary Wheeler, The University of Texas at Austin, USA
  • Edward L. Wilson, University of California at Berkeley, USA
  • Peter Wriggers, Leibniz University Hannover, Germany
  • O.C. Zienkiewicz, University of Wales Swansea, United Kingdom

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Submissions are invited in all areas of finite element analysis, including theoretical development, implementational procedure, programming aspects, novel and innovative applications, and integration of finite elements into the design process. Additionally, submissions in related areas of computational mechanics (e.g., boundary elements, meshless methods) will also be welcomed, particularly where the technical contribution of interest may be expected to enhance our understanding of finite element procedures.

Prospective topics include, but are not limited to:

  • Solid and Structural Mechanics
  • Computational Fluid Mechanics
  • Stochastic Problems
  • Geomechanics
  • Mesh Generation, Refinement and Adaptivity
  • Meshfree Methods
  • Nonlinear Dynamics
  • Scientific Visualization
  • Finite Elements in CAD, CAM and CAE
  • Biomechanics
  • Parallel Computing and FEM
  • FEM in Environmental Science and Environmental Engineering
  • Hydrology and Water Resources Engineering

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Submission Procedure

Each paper must have as its first-named author a student or a recent student no more than one year beyond graduation. It is expected that most submissions will describe Master's- or PhD-level work. However, truly exceptional work done by undergraduate researchers will also be welcomed. Submitted papers should be in extended abstract format, three to five pages in length (including all graphics). Although the page limit will prevent the presentation of extended theoretical development, enough detail should be included to allow a reasonable assessment of technical merit.

If the paper is submitted via regular mail, four copies should be submitted: one with a cover page indicating title, author and affiliation, and three copies with the title but no authors or affiliations indicated. For electronic submissions (preferred), only one copy of each is required. Documents prepared using LaTeX with the Elsevier LaTeX class file elsartarticle.cls, are preferred. LaTeX instructions and a link to download the class file template are available from Elsevier at this page.

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Important Links

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Key dates pertaining to the 2021 Competition are:

  • August 6: Deadline for extended abstract submissions
  • September 6: Finalists notified of acceptance
  • October 21-22: Melosh Symposium at Duke University


Questions and correspondence should be addressed to:


Submissions should be directed to:

The Robert J. Melosh Medal Competition
Duke University Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering
Box 90287
Durham, NC USA  27708-0287

Phone: +1 919-684-3537


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