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Gérard Maugin (December 2, 1944 - September 22, 2016)

Arash_Yavari's picture

Dear Friends:

As was also mentioned by another colleague (, Prof. Gérard Maugin passed away on September 22, 2016.

The following is a message that my good friend Prof. Marcelo Epstein sent me and a few other colleagues. He has kindly given me permission to share it with you.

Dear friends,
Gérard and I were born within an interval of just a few hours and we always joked about it. He used to say that I was his younger version and I would reply what a difference in status a few hours of seniority can make. He was a giant in the field and cared deeply about people. He helped many to advance and be recognized in many countries around the world. He cared also about the history of continuum physics and, thanks to his encyclopaedic knowledge and keen judgment, wrote quite recently a series of amazing books on this subject. His passing may be considered as the closing of an era, namely, the second generation of the continuum mechanics Renaissance that started after WWII. Typical of the masters of this generation is their ability to make original contributions to almost all areas in the field, from Relativity to Biomechanics, from the theory to the applications. Gérard was one of these masters and he will certainly be remembered as such by the community. But for many of us his passing represents also the loss of a dear and admired friend.

I met Gerard twice, once in 2010 in Banff and again in Calgary in 2015. He was a very interesting and energetic fellow. He wrote the following three recent books on the history of continuum mechanics. Although one may not agree with all the historical accounts in these books, they’re written beautifully and I strongly recommend reading them.


Pu Zhang's picture

There are so many giants amongst his generation, who have shaped modern continuum/solid mechanics. But does there exist a third generation of the continuum mechanics given that an era might be closed? --- "His passing may be considered as the closing of an era, namely, the second generation of the continuum mechanics"


Arash_Yavari's picture

Dear Pu:

This is Marcelo’s response: “The Zeitgeist is now different and so is the style and individual scope. There are many extremely talented people exploring new areas, both in the foundations and the applications. Perhaps what has been lost is a certain sense of grandeur, a kind of pioneering spirit. Continuum Mechanics is no longer regarded by the applied scientists as a flight of fancy. Its place is assured and its terminology widely accepted, thanks to the works of the first two generations. In ten or twenty years from now you will be able to look back and see what the third generation has achieved and how it defined itself in relation to the previous ones.


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