News Release

Two University of Minnesota professors elected to the National Academy of Engineering

University of Minnesota-Twin Cities mechanical engineering Professor David Y.H. Pui and civil, environmental and geo- engineering Professor Emmanuel Detournay have been elected to the National Academy of Engineering (NAE). Both are professors in the University’s College of Science and Engineering.

Election to the National Academy of Engineering is among the highest professional distinctions awarded to an engineer. The NAE elected only 80 new members and 22 foreign members this year.

Pui was elected as a new member and Detournay, who maintains citizenship in Belgium, was elected as a foreign member.

David Y.H. Pui

David Y.H. Pui, a Distinguished McKnight University Professor and L.M. Fingerson/TSI Inc. Chair in Mechanical Engineering, is a world-renowned researcher in the field of aerosol and nanoparticle science. He is recognized for his recent efforts to combat air pollution issues worldwide, particularly in China. 

An employee at the University of Minnesota since the 1970s, Pui currently serves as director of the University’s Particle Technology Laboratory and the Center for Filtration Research. He has a broad range of research experience in aerosol science and technology and has authored more than 250 peer-reviewed journal papers and has 23 granted patents. He has developed/co-developed several widely used commercial aerosol instruments.

Pui is a leader within the aerosol and particle science research community. He served as President of the American Association for Aerosol Research (AAAR) and of the International Aerosol Research Assembly (IARA) consisting of 17 international aerosol associations. He has organized several international symposia to promote research cooperation especially among young scientists.

Pui has received numerous awards including fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME), the Humboldt Research Award for Senior U.S. Scientists (2000), the Fuchs Memorial Award (2010), and the Einstein Professorship Award (2013) by the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS).

Pui earned bachelor’s, master’s and Ph.D. degrees in mechanical engineering from the University of Minnesota in 1970, 1973, and 1976 respectively.

Emmanuel Detournay

Emmanuel Detournay was elected to the NAE as a foreign member for major advances in hydraulic fracturing and drilling dynamics.  Detournay has been a faculty member at the University of Minnesota since 1993, and he holds the Theodore W. Bennett Chair in Mining Engineering and Rock Mechanics.

A major impact of Detournay’s work is found in the analysis of poroelastic effects in various geomechanical problems, such as borehole stability, reservoir mechanics, and material characterization.  His research in coupled thermo-chemo-hydro-mechanical processes led to the development of a new technique for measuring thermo-hydraulic rock properties in their original location.

Detournay also spearheaded a research program to develop the Portable Rock Strength Device, with U.S. patent 5,670,711, and a methodology to infer the strength of porous rock from this “scratch” test. This technique is now recognized as a standard in the petroleum industry, providing reliable logs of strength at the centimeter-length scale. To date, tens of kilometers of core from oil and gas reservoirs have been tested with this methodology.

Detournay directs a comprehensive research program aimed at developing rigorous reference solutions and robust numerical methods for hydraulic fracturing. Another current research focus is drilling mechanics (bit-rock interaction, self-excited drilling vibrations, directional drilling).

Detournay has published about 200 papers and has been invited to present numerous lectures around the world. He has received several awards, including the Biot Medal, American Society of Civil Engineers; Corresponding Member, Russian Academy of Natural Sciences; Basic Research Award, U.S. National Committee for Rock Mechanics, National Academy of Sciences; Technical Achievement Award, Dowell-Schlumberger; Fellow, American Rock Mechanics Association.

Detournay received a bachelor’s degree in mining engineering from the University of Liege in Belgium and master’s and Ph.D. degrees in geoengineering from the University of Minnesota in 1979 and 1983 respectively.

More information on today’s elections, including a list of the newly elected members and foreign associates, is available on the National Academy of Engineering website

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