Warner Tjardus Koiter

Man of principles and influential mechanic

In 1936 Warner Koiter finished his studies
in mechanical engineering cum laude. He started working at the National Aeronautical Research Institute, which became the National Aeronautical Laboratory in 1937.

During the Second World War, he worked
on his dissertation on elastic stability: it was ready to be published in 1942. However, Koiter refused to do his PhD at a university that required a declaration of loyalty to the occupying forces. Immediately after the war, he obtained his doctorate, with honours,
from Dr C.B. Biezeno. The interesting new theory contained in his thesis only became internationally known fifteen years later. Only then did the English translation of his doctoral thesis appear.

In 1949, Koiter became Professor of Applied Mechanics in Delft, a position he held with great dedication. However, the democratisation of universities in the 1970s caused him to resign in 1973. He worked for a year at the California Institute of Technology in the United States. Thanks to the efforts of colleagues, Koiter was appointed in 1974 to a personal chair in Delft, without relationship to governing  bodies. He remained a professor until his retirement.

Koiter received various medals and honorary doctorates from several universities. He was a member of the Dutch Royal Academy of Sciences (KNAW), as well as its American, French and British counterparts. In 1996, the American Society of Mechanical Engineers named their most important award after him: the Warner T. Koiter Medal. Koiter himself received the first edition at the age of 82.

Dr. Warner T. Koiter is receiving this award for his theoretical work on structural stability and the effective application of these theories, as well as his international leadership in the fields of mechanical and aerospace engineering.