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Fellows Directory

Thomas Hughes

Thomas Hughes

Professor Thomas Hughes ForMemRS

Foreign Member

Elected: 2011


Thomas Hughes is an engineer whose pioneering work on computational mechanics has had a major impact on technical software used around the world. The algorithms he designed have found applications in fields as diverse as automobile crashworthiness and drug delivery, as well as his own domain of aerospace engineering.

Amongst Thomas’s most celebrated achievements are his contributions to the development of the finite element method of computing. This numerical technique can solve complex problems of considerable practical importance by dividing them up into smaller elements that can each be individually solved. The resulting solutions thereby provide a useful approximation to the desired answer at a fraction of the computational power that would otherwise be needed.

Thomas holds membership of many prestigious scientific bodies, including the US National Academies of Sciences and Engineering. The recipient of the Von Karman Medal from the American Society of Civil Engineers and the Timoshenko Medal from the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, he has also been awarded the Humboldt Research Award for Senior Scientists from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation.

Interest and expertise

Subject groups

  • Mathematics
    • Applied mathematics and theoretical physics
  • Engineering
    • Engineering, structural, Engineering, mechanical, Engineering, aeronautical, Computer engineering (including software)Fluid dynamics, Engineering, medical, Engineering, civil, Computer engineering (including software)


Finite element analysis, Computational mechanics, Variational multiscale method, Isogeometric analysis, Patient specific modeling, Cardiovascular biomechanics, Computational medicine, Computational geometry, Stabilized methods

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