Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

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October 4, 2022

J. Tinsley Oden, founder of computational mechanics and former director of Oden Institute dies at 86

Courtesy of The Oden Institute

J. Tinsley Oden, 86, founder of the Oden Institute for Computational Engineering Science, died on Sunday, according to a recent press release. Oden was widely known as the founder of computational mechanics. 

Professor Tinsley Oden’s impact on computational science cannot be overstated,” UT President Jay Hartzell said in the press release. “Tinsley’s passing is a tremendous loss for UT Austin and for the global computational science and engineering community.”

In 1972, Oden published his book “Finite Elements of Nonlinear Continua,” which is cited as establishing computational mechanics as a new discipline.

In 1973, Oden was hired as a full-time professor and established the Texas Institute for Computational Mechanics, which would go on to become the Oden Institute.

In addition to being the institute’s first director, Oden was also the associate vice president of research. He was a professor across several departments, advising over 45 doctoral students.

Oden stepped down from being director of the institute in 2017. Two years later, the Board of Regents voted to rename the institute after him.

“(His) impact on the engineering field is immeasurable,” said Roger Bonnecaze, dean of the Cockrell School of Engineering. “He worked tirelessly for half a century to make UT Austin the destination for all things computing.”

Throughout his career, Oden authored or edited more than 800 scientific works. He held seven doctorates, received several awards for his research achievements and was a founding member of the U.S. Association for Computational Mechanics (UCASM).

In 2012, the USACM established the J. Tinsley Oden Medal, which recognizes outstanding contributions to computational science.

“There are no words that can express the loss of our founding father,” said Karen Willcox, director of the Oden Institute. “Tinsley had an immeasurable positive impact on each one of us as individuals. We will miss him more than he could imagine.”

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