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Subra Suresh in line to be the Director of the National Science Foundation

Subra Suresh, the Dean of Engineering, of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, is in line to become the next Director of the National Science Foundation (NSF), according to this post at Science.

Subra Suresh's pictureThe NSF director must be confirmed by the Senate, although it would be unusual for a nominee to attract any opposition.

Subra is a well known researcher in the field of mechanical behavior of materials.  His books on fatigue and thin films are widely read.  In recent years, his research has been focused on molecular and cellular biomechanics. He is iMechanica user 190

Update 4 June 2010.  See White House Announcement.


Mike Ciavarella's picture

I remember visiting Subra in February 2000.

I was at that time invited by the Air Force on the Windows On Science Program to see him, Rob Ritchie, Ted Nicholas, Tom Farris and others, about my phd on fretting fatigue.

They were working still on fretting fatigue, and they were interested in my phd.  How generous of them, and of Air Force, to sponsor me.

Subra had made a quick move into fretting, he devised the major advance in fretting fatigue, a


Aspects of equivalence between contact
mechanics and fracture mechanics: theoretical connections and a
life-prediction methodology for fretting-fatigue

, Volume 46, Issue 9, 22 May 1998, Pages

A. E. Giannakopoulos, T. C. Lindley, S. Suresh

and quickly moved on.  I am not impressed now he has made so much career.  Over lunch, he left me to go to work, and since then he has moved into nanomechanics, has worked opening MIT to Singapore, and perhaps he doesn't even know that I have "improved" his crack analogue model.


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Some observations on the CLNA model in fretting

Tribology International, Volume 39,
Issue 10
, October 2006, Pages 1142-1148
M. Ciavarella


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A note on the crack analogue model for fretting

International Journal of Solids and Structures,
Volume 40, Issue 4, February 2003, Pages 807-825
G. Macina

 Congratulations to Subra.  I hope to have lunch with him another time, if he is not too important now.  :)

 Perhaps what he could be interested in today, is that within days I am launching the Italian Science Debate.



The Italian Science

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Prof. Michele Ciavarella
Politecnico di BARI
Gentile 182
70125 BARI, Italy
tel+390805962811 fax+390805962777

I congratulate Dr. Subra for being appointed the next chief of NSF and hope that he will do his utmost to help increase significantly the government-funding opportunities for the research grants and contracts by the U.S. engineers and scientists, as well as to help increase significantly the job opportunities for the U.S. engineers and scientists. Because, while President Obama's rhetoric for more engineering and science graduates from the U.S. colleges, to make America more technologically competitive or innovative, is certainly a welcome news, there are currently plenty of U.S. engineering and science graduates who are unemployed or under-employed who need decent, stable, engineering or scientific jobs NOW.

Mike Ciavarella's picture

Dear Unknown user

  you should not adress Dr. Suresh in these terms, very impolite of you.  "Must" adress is not up to you to decide. You should be firm, but more transparent.  What is your name, to start with?  These statements you make are not well posed.  I can ensure you that situation in Italy is much worse, and indeed we are all making efforts, including Dr. Suresh who is of the highest moral standards, and doesn't need to be adressed this violently.  You are stressed and strained, take your time to "relax" your strains...



Mike Ciavarella's picture

Update:  The Nature Blog: The Great
Beyond reports


That may be true at some level, depending on how one defines
"tapped," but according to the White House definition, which is the one
that matters, this information is false.

"No decision has been made," says Rick Weiss, who handles
communications at the Office of Science and Technology Policy. Weiss'
boss is John Holdren, the president's chief science advisor, who would
presumably know.

Weiss didn't have much to add beyond that. He said he couldn't
confirm Suresh as a potential or leading candidate, nor could he provide
any clues as to the timing of an announcement.


  So the situation in US doesn't sound too different as the Chaos we have in Italy for which I opened the Italian Science Debate...

 Maybe you can also join it...   

mike ciavarella

Mike Ciavarella's picture


Suresh and Nanobiomechanics (Update)

Posted March 15, 2010 9:03 AM
by Kevin

Related Categories:
and Development Funding

When I heard
that Professor Subra Suresh had been given the nod to replace Bement at
NSF, I was pretty intrigued and thought I would figure out what kind of
research he does.


It turns out he is into "Nanobiomechanics".  I had no idea what
that means (still not quite sure).


Here is the intro on his research


The Suresh Research Group investigates mechanical properties of
engineered and biological materials at the nano to macro-scale using
experimental, analytical, and computational techniques.The group’s
current research projects include studies of nanostructured materials as
well as exploring connections between biological cell mechanics and
human disease states.


I thought that was pretty vague so I kept looking and ran into
this pretty great TechReview
article from 2006
.  I'll quote at length:.....




I still can't say I completely know
what is going on, but think it sounds very cool.



Mike Ciavarella's picture

Maybe these are nervous days for Prof. Suresh.  I wonder if it would relax him if I invite him to the board of the new on-line Ferrari journal.  I guess he has moved too much into the nano-bio-mechanics which was a successful move for pure science, but who knows if he wants to change again, maybe an invitation to collaborate with the team which will design the new Ferrari car  may attract him, what do you think?


Call for papers for the
Millechili Journal -- weight reduction in vehicle design. In
collaboration with Ferrari SpA


Prof. Michele Ciavarella, Politecnico di BARI
web page
see blogs
see YouTube Channel

Zhigang Suo's picture

I am happy, even though I have been occasionally exasperated with him in the past. And my sense of happiness in this matter is not just because he and me share an alma matter. ... Indeed, it almost doesn't matter at all! I came to know of him through his work in early 1990s; later on, I have off-and-on "checked out" his profile to note his well-deserved rise over the years.

Congratulations to him! And, all the best to him in performing this rather tricky job.

(Hope he will excuse my remarks---past, present and future---criticising government interference in any economic/productive area, including science, technology and research. In principle the interference is bad, but precisely for the same reason, so long as it is there, it's all the better if people with intelligence, integrity and with a broader kind of vision come to occupy important posts in the consequent bureaucracy---it helps make life easier for the rest of us, within the overall condition. From what I have gathered, Prof. Suresh fits the bill.)


- - - - -

Mike Ciavarella's picture

I am sure he will make a very hard work as usual, paving the way to some innovative solutions.  US is lucky that China and other countries continue to support the national debt well beyond the level they are prepared to support European or any other countries (italy, and even worse, Greece, for example).

This is why Obama could take a 5% stimulus plan, including research money, whereas we could not, and infact, we did not. EU altogether had only a 2% stimulus, and very little if nothing at all, on research.

Indeeed, I am preparing my speach at ESOF2010 on this, and it would be great to have Prof. Suresh there too.

The title I have chosen so far is

Europe needs to be a really united and strong laboratory
of innovation including everyone, or it will decline inevitably into a



Michele Ciavarella, Politecnico di BARI - Italy, Rector's delegate.
Editor, Italian Science Debate,
Associate Editor, Ferrari Millechili Journal,

Mike Ciavarella's picture

Nice parallels with Nobel prize Stephen Chuin Obama administration by Ares Rosakis in the full paper...

Published online 8 June 2010 |
| doi:10.1038/465673a


Engineer set to run NSF

MIT's Subra Suresh poised to take top job.

Subra Suresh is in line to head
the US National Science Foundation.D.
Coveney/MIT News Office


For full story, see here

Notice in particular the challenge Subra will face to raise funding, now that stimulus money is running out

If confirmed, Suresh is likely to encounter politics in spades. The
stimulus funding that was a windfall for the NSF last year came
alongside a whopping 6.2% rise in regular agency funding for fiscal year
2010. As a result, the NSF made a record number of research grants,
using stimulus funds to boost the acceptance rate for a backlog of
qualified proposals. But that rate will drop as the stimulus money
peters out, says Rankin.

Congress is unlikely to set the NSF's budget until after the midterm
elections in November, which means funding could be frozen at 2010
levels well into next year. With concerns about the national debt
rising, observers say that when Congress does act, the agency will be
lucky to get half of the 8% budget increase that was requested by the
White House in February.


Michele Ciavarella, Politecnico di BARI - Italy, Rector's delegate.
Editor, Italian Science Debate,
Associate Editor, Ferrari Millechili Journal,


Zhigang Suo's picture

MIT’s dean of engineering has been confirmed by the United States Senate to direct the NSF.

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