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About Richard K. Miller

Areas of Interest: mechanical engineering, earthquake engineering, spacecraft design, biomechanics.
Applied Mechanics: the application of the principles of mechanics and applied mathematics to the study of forces, motion, and deformation of bodies. Particular applications of interest include the analysis of nonlinear phenomena associated with impact of solid objects, friction and energy dissipation at the interface between solids, oscillations and waves in flexible solids, as well as dynamic structural stability and collapse.
Earthquake Engineering: the application of engineering principles to the design of structures to withstand severe ground motion. Particular applications of interest include the use of nonlinear passive devices and low-authority automatic control techniques to limit the build up of destructive vibrations in tall buildings and long-span bridges. The retrofit of existing structures to improve their safety in an upgraded seismic risk zone is a practical application of interest.
Design of Deployable Spacecraft: the application of the principles of applied mechanics to the design of ultra lightweight and hyper flexible deployable structures for applications in spacecraft. Examples include the design of deployable trusses for the support of high precision large aperture antennas; the design of solar sails and heliogyro spacecraft for propulsion beyond the solar system; and the analysis of the stresses and stability of deployable structures during the process of deployment on orbit.
Biomechanics of the Human Digestive Tract: the application of the principles of applied mechanics to the study of the forces and motions in the organs of human digestive tract, for the purpose of understanding the role of diet and genetics in various disease processes. Relatively little is known about the mechanics of the lower intestine, while the opportunity for experiments on tissue samples is relatively plentiful, and the incidence of life-threatening disease remains high. This study requires the guidance and partnership with a gastroenterologist.


Present Professor of Mechanical Engineering, Olin College of Engineering
Present President of Olin College of Engineering, Olin College of Engineering

Curriculum Vitae

Research Interests

Honors and Awards

  • Legacy award from the College of Engineering at the University of Iowa
  • Bernard M. Gordon Prize
  • 2011 Donald E. Marlowe Award from the ASEE
  • Recognized in 2006 by the Mass High Tech journal as an All Star for his work in leading the establishment of Olin College
  • Member of the Board of Directors of Stanley Consultants, Inc.
  • Serves on the Board of Trustees of Babson and Olin Colleges
  • Member of AIAA, ASME, ASCE, ASEE, Tau Beta Pi, Phi Kappa Phi, and Sigma Xi.


  • Issues in Leadership and Ethics