Mauricio Ponga

Mauricio Ponga

Assistant Professor

Department of Mechanical Engineering

What is your educational background?

I have a degree in aeronautical engineering from the University of La Plata in Argentina and an MSc and a PhD from the University of Seville in Spain. I was also a Postdoctoral Scholar at the California Institute of Technology under the supervision of Kaushik Bhattacharya and Michael Ortiz.

Why engineering?

When I was a kid I was curious about airplanes — I wanted to understand how something so big and heavy could fly. As I was growing up, I also developed a passion for physics and mathematics, so I decided to study aeronautics.

What are your research interests/current projects?

I would like to better understand materials. To do this, I use a variety of research methods, from quantum mechanics simulations to continuum models with finite elements. My research is at the intersection of mechanical engineering, mechanics of materials and computer science, focusing on multiscale modeling of materials, modeling and simulation and method development.

How do you hope your work will impact society?

My goal is to be able to develop new and robust computational tools that can help design new materials. This is essential in many important engineering applications — for instance, in developing lightweight materials and alloys in order to reduce the weight of cars and airplanes.

How do you think your field of engineering will be different 100 years from now?

I think that 100 years from now, robust computer simulation tools will be coupled with new manufacturing methods. This will enable us to develop devices with specific properties, from lightweight materials to electronic materials.

Do you have a favourite book/movie/band? An item you couldn’t live without?

My favorite movie is Terminator 2. I cannot live without yerba mate, a green tea from Argentina that I drink almost every day.

What are you passionate about outside work?

I am passionate about soccer and my favorite team, River Plate. Whenever I can, I try to watch soccer to relax and disconnect from my work.

Department/School profile