UBC mechanical engineering professor appointed to Order of Canada

Headshot of Dr. Yusuf Altintas
Dr. Yusuf Altintas has been recognized as a world leader in his respective fields. (Credit: Kai Jacobson/UBC Mechanical Engineering)

Dr. Yusuf Altintas, a professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at UBC’s Vancouver campus, is one of four UBC community members to be named an Officer of the Order of Canada this week. This is the second highest level of recognition possible from the Order of Canada, and recognizes achievements and merit of a high degree, especially in service to Canada or humanity at large.

A world leader in the fields of manufacturing automation, metal cutting dynamics and the computer control of machine tools, Dr. Altintas is also the founder and director of UBC’s Manufacturing Automation Laboratory. He is an exceptional mentor who has contributed to cultural and educational organizations worldwide.

His research contributions are vast, with more than 300 publications over the past 44 years. His research spans topics such as understanding the dynamic of high-speed milling for the aerospace and automotive industry, virtual blade machining processes, and design and computer numerical control systems for machine tools.

Dr. Altintas’s dedication goes beyond research and into the student experience. He is the founder and coordinator of the mechatronics undergraduate program option at UBC, where students learn the fundamental principles of mechanical, electrical, software, instrumentation and controls engineering. The program’s specially prepared laboratories give students the hands-on experience they need to thrive in the field. The program has existed for over 20 years and has graduated more than 500 students. 

His other teaching accomplishments include a UBC Killam Teaching Prize, founding the Master of Engineering in Mechatronics Design, and being one of the founding coordinators of the Manufacturing Engineering Program at UBC.

When asked what drives him to continue his teaching and research after so many successful years, Dr. Altintas said, “I feel I am paid to have fun by teaching brilliant mechatronics students, and conducting manufacturing research with the most gifted graduate students from different parts of the world.”

Dr. Altintas’s research impact extends internationally, as highlighted by his work to digitally transform aerospace and automotive manufacturing in collaboration with Fraunhofer in Germany. Additionally, he was named the top Turkish scientist living abroad from the Scientific and Technological Research Institution of Turkey with a $30,000 award, which he donated to a scholarship foundation in Turkiye. 

His list of awards and honours are vast. He is a Fellow of Royal Society of Canada, Engineers Canada, the US National Academy of Engineering, the German National Academy of Science and Engineering, and was the President of the International Academy of Production Engineering, to name a few. 

Through nearly half a century of research and teaching excellence, Dr. Altintas exemplifies the Order of Canada’s motto: DESIDERANTES MELIOREM PATRIAM, which translates to “They desire a better country.”

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