NYU-Poly Professor Honored for Contributions to Smart Structures and Materials

ASME Awards Maurizio Porfiri its Gary Anderson Early Achievement Award

NEW YORK, March 15, 2013 – Maurizio Porfiri, an associate professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering at the Polytechnic Institute of New York University (NYU-Poly), has been awarded the ASME’s Gary Anderson Early Achievement Award for his contributions to the field of smart structures and materials. The honor was bestowed yesterday by ASME, founded in 1880 as the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, at its SPIE Smart Structures and Materials conference in San Diego, California.

Porfiri’s most widely known research in smart materials and structures focuses on modeling ionic polymer metal composites for underwater sensing, propulsion and energy harvesting. Using such smart materials, Porfiri has developed biomimetic robot fish, which could someday lead to robots that could lead live fish away from dangerous areas. In 2010, Popular Science included him in its “Brilliant 10” list—an elite group of scientists under the age of 40 whose work stands to dramatically impact their fields. The editors of the magazine dubbed him the “Water Wizard” for his work on the biologically inspired robots that might influence animal behavior in nature.

NYU-Poly Acting President and Provost Katepalli R. Sreenivasan said: “We are enthusiastic here at NYU-Poly not only by Professor Porfiri’s groundbreaking work on underwater robotics, but also by his explorations of dynamical systems theory, mathematical control theory, and the mechanics of advanced materials. It is gratifying to see his talents acknowledged by a respected organization like the ASME.”

Porfiri previously received a prestigious National Science Foundation CAREER award in 2008. The CAREER awards advance the research of promising young scientists and engineers. He received the Young Alumnus Award from the College of Engineering of Virginia Polytechnic Institute, where he earned a doctorate in engineering mechanics. He also holds a doctorate in theoretical and applied mechanics from Sapienza University of Rome.

ASME includes more than 130,000 members in 158 countries -- college students, early-career engineer, project managers, corporate executives, researchers, academic leaders and more. It bestows the Gary Anderson Early Achievement Award annually upon a young researcher in ascendancy, whose work has already had an impact in his or her field within adaptive structures and material systems. Porfiri was selected for the honor by the Adaptive Structures and Materials Systems Technical Committee of the ASME’s Aerospace Division.