A Conversation with Alan T. Zehnder
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Zehnder, Alan T.; Moon, Francis C.
In an interview with Prof. Francis Moon, Professor Alan Zehnder of the Sibley School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering discusses his trajectory into academia and life at Cornell. Prof. Zehnder grew up in Alameda, California, then home of the Alameda Naval Air Station. His early interests in engineering were fostered by visits with his father and family to factories in the San Francisco and Oakland area as well as trips to the Lawrence Hall of Science. Zehnder earned his BS in at the University of California Berkeley. In graduate school he studied fracture mechanics under the supervision of Prof. Ares Rosakis at Caltech, earning his Ph.D. in 1987. In 1988 Zehnder joined Cornell’s Department of Theoretical and Applied Mechanics. His areas of research include fracture mechanics, nano-scale mechanics and damage in composite materials and structures. Zehnder was Chair of Theoretical and Applied Mechanics in 2008 when the department was merged with Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering. Following the merger Zehnder served as Associate Director and then as Director of the Sibley School. At the time of the interview he served Associate Dean for Diversity and Faculty Development in the College of Engineering and as faculty advisor to the Cornell Autonomous Underwater Vehicle student project team.
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