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Matt Pharr's First Post

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My name is Matt Pharr, and I am a first year graduate student at Harvard in the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences.  I am working with Dr. Zhigang Suo's research group http://www.seas.harvard.edu/suo/ .  My concentration is in solid mechanics, so ES 240 is obviously fundamentally important to my future research.  One of my main goals in this class is to build a solid foundation in solid mechanics.  More specifically, I want to be able to better analyze problems and understand equations in terms of their physical meaning.

I received my undergraduate degree from Rice University in 2008 majoring in both mechanical engineering and materials science.  Here I took some undergraduate classes that pertain to this class such as an introduction to materials science, mechanics of materials, advanced mechanics of materials, and finite element analysis.  

I am still somewhat uncertain about specifically what my research will entail.  To get immersed in the research process, I am currently reading papers about electromigration in lead-free solders.  Hopefully I will come up with a good project that relates to this topic.  

My main strength in this class is that I have taken a fair number of classes that relate to it.  Hence, I have seen the development of many of the founding ideas in the past.  One weakness that I may have is that I do not feel like I understood many of the equations developed in these classes physically as well as I should have.  I took them at face value, without deep insight into what they mean physically and what assumptions were made in their development (at least for some equations).  Hopefully I can eliminate this potential weakness in this class.

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