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Engaging students in mechanical behavior of materials with stories of art, history and biomechanics

Prof Lorna Gibson | Materials Science and Engineering, MIT

Engaging students in mechanical behavior of materials with stories of art, history and biomechanics

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I teach the core subject on mechanical behaviour of materials in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at MIT. We cover the usual topics: linear elasticity, stress transformations, viscoelasticity, plasticity, high temperature creep, fracture and fatigue. When I first taught the subject, I stuck to the engineering concepts and derivations.
Over time, to engage the students, I gradually added stories about art related to mechanics, the history of mechanics and interesting examples of mechanics applied to biological materials. This talk describes some of the stories that have made the class memorable for students.