Raymond D. Mindlin’s work for the Navy during World War II earned him the Presidential Medal of Merit. During the ensuing decades Mindlin would become one of the world’s foremost authorities on applied mechanics.
Mindlin earned his doctorate in civil engineering from Columbia University in 1936. He joined the University’s staff soon after and began a career teaching civil engineering. He left Columbia briefly in 1942 to join a project with other scientists at Johns Hopkins University developing new detonation devices for U.S. Navy ordnance. That work earned him the Medal of Merit in 1946 from President Harry S. Truman.
Back at Columbia, Mindlin turned his attentions to applied mechanics, photo-elasticity, structural engineering and geotechnical engineering. His chief interest was the mathematical theory of elasticity.
The author of numerous scientific papers, Mindlin was a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering. He retired from Columbia in 1975 and in 1979 was honored by another president, Jimmy Carter, with the National Medal of Science.
By Robert Warren