Bo Song named Asian American Engineer of the Year

By Luke Frank

Thursday, November 05, 2020

Mechanical engineer drives innovations at Sandia

Bo song
ENGINEER OF THE YEAR — Sandia mechanical engineer Bo Song has been recognized as a 2020 Asian American Engineer of the Year by the DiscoverE Engineering Program. (Photo by Lonnie Anderson)

Sandia mechanical engineer Bo Song has been recognized as a 2020 Asian American Engineer of the Year by the DiscoverE Engineering Program, which honors outstanding Asian American professionals in science and engineering for their technical achievements, leadership and public service.

“This is a big honor for me,” Bo said. “It’s highly competitive within Sandia and nationally, so it’s incredibly meaningful to me.”

Bo was recognized for making outstanding contributions in impact mechanics, advancing experimental and diagnostic techniques in support of Sandia’s missions, defense and national security programs. His groundbreaking work in experimental impact mechanics and the dynamic response of materials and structures recently led to the development of Sandia’s Experimental Impact Mechanics Lab, which Bo manages.

“There are not many labs around the world that can do what we do,” he said. “We’re the world’s leading facility in experimental impact mechanics. We developed the impact mechanics lab from a storage room and spent about a year to make it fully operational, and we continue developing new capabilities. We now cover most of the impact testing for all of Sandia.”

Experimental impact mechanics

Bo Song in engineering lab
DYNAMIC LEADERSHIP — Bo Song helped develop and now manages Sandia’s Experimental Impact Mechanics Lab. (Photo courtesy of Bo Song)

Bo has developed multiple new experimental capabilities for characterizing materials’ response under extreme environments, including high-strain-rate, high-temperature complex stress states. Bo and his team also were recently awarded a patent for successfully developing an intermediate-strain-rate test apparatus that fills a critical mechanical test gap between conventional low- and high-strain rates. Bo’s contributions have dramatically advanced experimental impact mechanics.

“Bo Song has consistently demonstrated the ability to develop innovative R&D solutions to solve some of the most challenging problems facing the nation’s nuclear deterrence and defense missions,” said Joel Lash, director of Sandia’s Engineering Sciences Center. “In doing so, he has become a world-recognized leader in the areas of impact mechanics and dynamic response of materials and structures.”

Over the course of this career, Bo has published a book, chapters for six other books, and more than 130 international peer-reviewed journal articles and conference papers. He also has submitted seven DOE technical advances.

Leader, mentor, volunteer

Bo’s activities stretch beyond his impact mechanics lab. He is a Fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, a founding senior member of the International Ballistics Society and a member of both the Society for Experimental Mechanics and National Defense Industrial Association.

He also has mentored numerous graduate and undergraduate student interns, postdocs, junior staff members and technologists to produce work that is well regarded nationally.

Bo is enthusiastic about volunteering in community service, particularly in support of youth in STEM activities. “I truly love engineering and want to share my passion for STEM with students,” he said. Bo works with New Mexico students of all ages in regional and national Future City competitions, awards and STEM academic pursuits.

Since 2002, Asian American professionals from leading U.S. corporations, prestigious research institutions and the U.S. Armed Forces have been selected as recipients of this prestigious award.