J. Tinsley Oden who was widely known as the founder of computational mechanics and the first director of what is now known as the Oden Institute for Computational Engineering and Sciences at The University of Texas at Austin, died on Sunday, Aug. 27. He was 86.
His revolutionary treatise, Finite Elements of Nonlinear Continua, first published in 1972, is cited as having not only demonstrated the great potential of computational methods but established computational mechanics as a new intellectually rich discipline built upon concepts in mathematics, computer sciences, physics and mechanics. Computational mechanics has since become a fundamentally important discipline, impacting engineering practice and education worldwide, and laying the foundations for the thriving field of computational science and engineering.
Shortly after the book’s publication, Oden arrived at UT Austin in 1972 on a sabbatical as a visiting professor and in 1973 he was hired as a professor. The same year he started the Texas Institute for Computational Mechanics, the first manifestation of what was to ultimately become the Oden Institute.
“Professor Tinsley Oden’s impact on computational science – spanning mechanics, subsurface modeling, materials, cardiology and oncology – cannot be overstated,” said President Jay Hartzell. “Fifty years after he founded it, thanks to Tinsley’s unwavering vision and unmatched ability to recruit renowned faculty, the Oden Institute is globally recognized as the trailblazing model for interdisciplinary computing research and education. It remains a magnet for talent and the home of the No. 1 ranked graduate program in computational science, engineering and mathematics. Tinsley’s passing is a tremendous loss for UT Austin and for the global computational science and engineering community.”