Superstars of Engineering
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John M. Hanson, Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Civil Engineering and Construction
NAE Member since 1992
Why he's in: Why do bridges and buildings collapse? John Hanson has worked his entire career finding out. While with the engineering firm of Wiss, Janney, Elstner Associates, Inc., he took part in investigations of failures and later served as the firm’s president. For the “sky bridges” collapse at a Kansas City hotel in 1981; the collapse of the Schoharie Creek Bridge on the New York State Thruway in 1987; and the Hartford Civic Center roof collapse in 1978, Hanson helped figure out what went wrong. In 2007, this firm was the lead investigator of the I-35 bridge collapse in Minneapolis. Hanson is also a past president of the American Concrete Institute and the International Association for Bridge and Structural Engineering.
Get this: As a professor at NC State, Hanson was one of the first researchers to break in the Constructed Facilities Laboratory on Centennial Campus. The CFL houses some of the largest structure-testing equipment available at any university, and Hanson’s team used hydraulic rams reacting against the CFL’s floor to test precast concrete spandrels, beams used in building parking decks.
Jerome J. Cuomo, Distinguished Research Professor of Materials Science and Engineering; Director, Institute for Maintenance Science and Technology
NAE Member since 1993
Why he's in: Jerome Cuomo is responsible for a seminal data storage advancement — the rewritable “magneto-optic” (MO) disk. While working at IBM in the 1970s, Cuomo and his research partners discovered a blend of elements with unique magnetic properties that made them well-suited to data storage. These super-thin materials were then used to hold data on MO drives, which became a $2 billion industry. His many additional inventions have resulted in 125 patents, and he has helped start four companies. Cuomo also co-founded the Institute for Maintenance Science and Technology, a partnership between NC State and the Naval Air Depot in Cherry Point, NC, that helps get aging military helicopters back in the air after they return to the base for repairs, attracting jobs to that part of the state.
Get this: In 1995, Cuomo was awarded the National Medal of Technology for his magnetic materials research. It is the nation’s highest honor for technological achievement.