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CEAT mourns the loss of Dr. John Tinsley Oden, a pioneer in the engineering field

Monday, September 11, 2023

Dr. John Tinsley Oden

The College of Engineering, Architecture and Technology is saddened by the news of the recent passing of Dr. J. Tinsley Oden, the founder and first director of the Oden Institute for Computational Engineering and Sciences.  He was 86. 


His breakthrough work in creating the field of computational mechanics served as the foundation for what would become the Oden Institute. Furthermore, it inspired generations of engineers and scientists to investigate how computing can play a role in solving complex mathematical, physics, medical and engineering problems.


Oden earned a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from Louisiana State University in 1959 and a doctorate in engineering mechanics from Oklahoma State University (OSU) in 1962.  He taught at OSU and was the department head of Engineering Mechanics at the University of Alabama in Huntsville until he moved to Texas in 1973, where he then taught at the University of Texas at Austin for the remainder of his career. 

Oden was the founding director of the Oden Institute for Computational Engineering and Sciences, which was started in January 2003 as an expansion of the Texas Institute for Computational and Applied Mathematics (TICAM).  The Oden Institute, formerly known as ICES, was named in his honor in 2019.

Oden wrote over 600 scientific publications and 50 books, leaving an unforgettable impact on his field.


Oden was a member of the U.S. National Academy of Engineering, a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and an Honorary Member of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers. He was a Fellow of seven international scientific/technical societies: IACM, AAM, ASME, ASCE, SES, SIAM, and BMIA. He was a Fellow, founding member, and first president of the U.S. Association for Computational Mechanics and a Fellow, founding member, and past president of the International Association for Computational Mechanics.  He was a Fellow and past president of both the American Academy of Mechanics and the Society of Engineering Science. In recognition of his outstanding contributions and eminent achievements in the field of computational mechanics, Oden received numerous prestigious awards including the A. C. Eringen Medal, the Worcester Reed Warner Medal, the Lohmann Medal, the Theodore von Karman Medal, the John von Neumann Medal, the Newton/Gauss Congress Medal, and the Stephan P. Timoshenko Medal. He was also knighted as "Chevalier des Palmes Academiques" by the French government and held five honorary doctorates, Honoris Causa, from universities in Portugal (Technical University of Lisbon), Belgium (Faculte Polytechnique), Poland (Cracow University of Technology), the United States (Presidential Citation, The University of Texas at Austin), and France (École Normale Supérieure Cachan ENSC).


"Tinsley Oden was internationally recognized for his work in elevating the use of computational methods in various fields of engineering.  He was a preeminent scholar who was always interested in learning and passing his knowledge on to others."
- Dr. John Veenstra, Interim Dean of the College of Engineering, Architecture and Technology
"Tinsley Oden is one of CEAT’s most decorated graduates, a member of the National Academy, CEAT Hall of Fame inductee, renowned international mathematician, computing pioneer and engineer.  He was a great thinker, a gentleman and cowboy."
- Dr. Paul Tikalsky, Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering and former Dean of the College of Engineering, Architecture and Technology
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