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2nd Korybalski Lecture Features Roger McCarthy



The 2nd Annual Korybalski Lecture in Mechanical Engineering will take place at 4 pm on May 4, in the Chesebrough Auditorium at the Chrysler Center, 2121 Bonisteel Boulevard. A reception will follow. This year’s lecture, “Scale Happens,” will feature Dr. Roger McCarthy, a distinguished ME alumnus.

McCarthy is going to briefly review a number of major failures and disasters of the last 100 years and discuss the role that increased, and unfortunately unappreciated, “scale” in the device, technology, structure or societal activity, whether intentional or evolutionary,playedintheultimate evolutionary, played in the ultimate disaster. He will discuss how we, as engineers, are going to have to be the ones to quantify and learn these lessons so this history does not have to be repeated with future societal systems that are currently growing in scale.

Anyone who plans to attend the event should register online.

This prestigious lectureship in the general theme of “Engineer in Society” has been endowed by Michael Korybalski, Chair of the ME External Advisory Board and former CEO of Mechanical Dynamics. As part of this annual lectureship to the ME community, a series of high profile speakers will promote the impact that engineers have on addressing large societal problems, such as energy and environment, health and quality of life, national security, and disaster prevention. The inaugural Korybalski Lecturer (last year) was Dr. Larry Burns, VP GM R&D and Planning.

McCarthy is the now retired former Chairman and CEO of Exponent, Inc, which the largest engineering and scientific firm in the United States dedicated primarily to the analysis and prevention of failures of an engineering or scientific nature. McCarthy is also the retired Chairman of Exponent Science and Technology Consulting Co., Ltd. (Hangzhou)? a wholly owned subsidiary of Exponent, Inc., which he founded in 2005 to expand Exponent’s services to China. Founded in 1967 as Failure Analysis Associates, Inc. (FaAA), Exponent, Inc. (name changed in 1998) is publicly traded on the NASDAQ exchange under the symbol “EXPO.” McCarthy currently serves on the Board of Shui on Land (SOL), Ltd., which is publicly traded (stock code 0272) on the Hong Kong Exchange. SOL won the Hong Kong Corporate Governance Excellence Award in 2007.

McCarthy joined Exponent (then FaAA) in 1978. He became a Director and Vice-President in 1980, and President and Chief Executive Officer in 1982, a position he held until 1996, and Chairman of the Board in 1986, a position he held until 2005. In 1989, McCarthy reincorporated Failure Analysis Associates, Inc. in Delaware as The Failure Group, Inc. and took The Failure Group, Inc. public in 1990.

McCarthy holds five academic degrees: an Arts Bachelor (A.B.) in Philosophy and a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering (B.S.E. M.E.), both from the University of Michigan; and an S.M. degree in Mechanical Engineering, the professional degree of Mechanical Engineer (Mech.E.), and a Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering, all from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). He graduated from the University of Michigan Phi Beta Kappa, summa cum laude, the Outstanding Undergraduate in Mechanical Engineering in 1972, and a National Science Foundation Fellow. In 2004 McCarthy became one of the nation’s ~165 mechanical engineers elected to the National Academy of Engineering. He specializes in mechanical, machine, and mechanism design, including issues related to fabrication and manufacturing, warnings, risk analysis, and hazards evaluation.

McCarthy is a Registered Mechanical Engineer in the states of California, Arizona, Ohio, and Georgia. He was a commissioned officer in the U.S. Army Ordnance Corps, trained at Aberdeen Proving Ground, and was honorably discharged as a Captain in 1980. He has written scores of scientific papers and currently serves on the Visiting Committee of MIT’s Mechanical Engineering Department, and on the External Advisory Boards of the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Michigan, and the Department of Materials Science & Engineering Advisory Group at Stanford University. He was formerly Chairman of the Safety Engineering and Risk Analysis Division of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) and served on the ASME’s Board of Safety Codes and Standards from 1998 ≠2008. McCarthy is a former member of the Army Science Board.

McCarthy has personally participated in investigating many of the major disasters of modern times, including the loss of the Amoco Cadiz, the collapse of the Kansas City Hyatt walkways, the grounding of the Exxon Valdez, and the bombing of the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City. In 1996, McCarthy testified for multiple days in the second Menendez brothers murder trial, which resulted in their conviction, on the murder reconstruction he performed for the prosecution.

McCarthy was awarded the Outstanding Civilian Service Gold Medal by the U.S. Army in 1998, and the University of Michigan’s Department of Mechanical Engineering Alumni Society Merit Award in 1994. In 1992, President Bush appointed McCarthy to a two-year term on the President’s Commission on the National Medal of Science. McCarthy served on the Board of the Tech Museum of Innovation from 1991 ≠1994, and has served on the Board of the MIT Club of Northern California from 1995 ≠2008.

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