Keynote Speaker

Engineering the 21st Century

Kon-Well Wang

Stephen P. Timoshenko Professor of Mechanical Engineering

University of Michigan

Ann Arbor, MI, U. S. A.


In recent years, the environment for engineering research and education has evolved rapidly under the influences of various challenges and opportunities, such as the trends of transdisciplinary and convergent research, the effects of globalization, the changes in education and workforce development models, and the recent impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Many initiatives and studies have been developed by the science and engineering community to examine the past and look into the future, including from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policies, the National Science Foundation, and the American Society of Engineering Education.  This talk will review some of the observations and share some food for thought on how we as engineers would engineer the 21st Century – explore the opportunities to tackle the grand challenges and impact our society through transformative convergent research and building a generation of diverse and inclusive workforce and leaders.

Biographical Sketch

Dr. Kon-Well Wang is the Stephen P. Timoshenko Collegiate Professor of Mechanical Engineering (ME) at the University of Michigan (U-M), and has served as the Department Chair of Mechanical Engineering at U-M from 2008 to 2018.  He has also been the Division Director of the Engineering Education and Centers Division at the U.S. National Science Foundation for two years, 2019-20, via an Executive Intergovernmental Personnel Act rotator appointment. Dr. Wang received his Ph.D. degree from the University of California at Berkeley, worked at the General Motors Research Labs as a Senior Research Engineer, and started his academic career at the Pennsylvania State University in 1988. At Penn State, Dr. Wang has served as the William E. Diefenderfer Chaired Professor, Director of the Structural Dynamics & Controls Lab, co-founder and Associate Director of the Vertical Lift Research Center of Excellence, and a Group Leader of the Center for Acoustics & Vibration. Dr. Wang joined the U-M in 2008. Because of his overall achievement in research, education, service and leadership, Dr. Wang is the recipient of the 2019 Stephen S. Attwood Award and a 2019 U-M Distinguished Faculty Achievement Award.

Dr. Wang’s main technical interests are in the emerging areas of structural dynamics, including metastable & multi-stable metastructures, origami mechanics & dynamics, and intelligent structural systems, with applications in vibration, wave & noise controls, energy harvesting, and sensing & monitoring.  He has received various recognitions for his accomplishments, such as the ASME Rayleigh Lecture Award, the Pi Tau Sigma-ASME Charles Russ Richards Memorial Award, the ASME J.P. Den Hartog Award, the SPIE Smart Structures and Materials Lifetime Achievement Award, the ASME Adaptive Structures and Materials Systems Prize, the ASME N.O. Myklestad Award, the ASME Rudolf Kalman Award, and others.  His service and leadership activities in the professional community include being Chair of the ASME Technical Committee on Vibration and Sound, Chair of the ASME Mechanical Engineering Department Heads Executive Committee, Chief Editor for the ASME Journal of Vibration & Acoustics, and Editorial Advisory Board Member for the Journal of Sound and Vibration.  Dr. Wang is a Fellow of the ASME, AAAS, and IOP.