Introduction to School of Mechanics and Engineering

Mechanics is an important foundation of Engineering Science and technology. Southwest Jiaotong University is one of the earliest universities to carry out mechanical education in China. Since 1897, many mechanics courses have been opened. Famous professors such as Zhongchen Luo, Yisheng Mao, Yisun Gu, Zhilun Fan, Yaoqian Yang, Quqing Gao, Bingkun Wu, Xunfang Sun, Chuanbing Jin, Yingjun Chen, Wei Diao, Xiaodi Lu, and Anji Huang have successively taught mechanics courses. With a vigorous origin and a simple inheritance, the educational tradition of “rigorous scholarship and strict requirements” of Southwest Jiaotong University is formed, which have made important contributions to the cultivation of more than 300000 pillars of Southwest Jiaotong University, represented by three heroes of “Two Bombs and One Satellite”, 60 academicians at home and abroad, and 24 national masters of engineering survey and design, especially outstanding alumni in related fields such as Yisheng Mao, Wanli Huang, Tongyan Lin, Wei Zhang, Nengkuan Chen, Zhiyun Shen, Huiqi Ren, Shandong Tu, and so on.

School of Mechanics and Engineering has a long history, which can be traced back to the mechanical courses of Civil Engineering, Machinery, Mining and Metallurgy at the beginning of Southwest Jiaotong university. The earliest mechanical courses were taught by two chief teachers at that time named E. Sprague and D. P. Griffith. Professor Zhongchen Luo first opened the courses of Applied Mechanics (Theoretical Mechanics) and Mechanics of Materials in China in 1912, who is known as “the First Person of Engineering Mechanics in China”. In 1950, the Teaching and Research Group of Structural Mechanics was established, and then the Teaching and Research Group of Theoretical Mechanics and the Teaching and Research Group of Material Mechanics in 1953. In 1959, the Department of Mathematical Mechanics was established, and then became the Department of Basic Courses in 1964 by merging it with the three Teaching and Research Groups. In 1985, the Department of Engineering Mechanics was established, and then became the Department of Applied Mechanics and Engineering in 1996 by merging it with the Institute of Applied Mechanics and the Research Center of Vibration, Shock and Noise. In 2008, the Department of Applied Mechanics and Engineering was renamed as School of Mechanics and Engineering. The official symbol of the school is to open the undergraduate major of Engineering Mechanics in 1958, which is one of the first mechanical majors set up in engineering colleges in China. In 2002, the major of Engineering Structure Analysis was added, which was later incorporated into the major of Engineering Mechanics due to the specialty adjustment of the Ministry of Education; in 2016, the major of Aircraft Design and Engineering was added.

Through the unremitting efforts of several generations of mechanics personnel, the school has established a complete training system for undergraduates, masters, doctors and postdoctoral high-level mechanics professionals. The school consists of Department of Engineering Mechanics, Department of Aircraft Design and Engineering, Mechanics Experiment Center, and Training Department. It has two undergraduate majors, namely, Engineering Mechanics (national characteristic specialty, pilot specialty of “Excellent Engineer Program” of the Ministry of Education, which was selected as the national first-class specialty in 2019, and the first pilot class of top students with nonstop cultivation of undergraduate, master and doctor in Southwest Jiaotong university), and Aircraft Design and Engineering. There are master’s program and doctoral program for the first-level discipline (including six secondary disciplines, namely, Solid Mechanics, Dynamics and Control, Engineering Mechanics, Fluid Mechanics, Biomechanics, and Interdisciplinary Mechanics) and a postdoctoral station in Mechanics (established in 1988). Among them, the doctoral program of Solid Mechanics is one of the first doctoral programs in China, and Mechanics is a key first-level discipline in Sichuan Province, ranking B in the fourth round of national discipline evaluation (tied for 17-24). The school is the affiliated unit and the director’s unit of Sichuan Society of Mechanics.

The school has a realistic, innovative and enterprising high-level teaching staff team, including 26 professors, 19 associate professors, 4 senior engineers and 20 doctoral supervisors. Among the full-time teachers, the proportion of teachers with doctoral degree is 88.3%, and the proportion of teachers with oversea experience is 68.3%. There are 1 double-employed academician of the Chinese Academy of Engineering, 1 distinguished professor and 1 lecture professor of “Yangtze River Scholar”, 2 national distinguished professors, 1 winner of the National Outstanding Youth Fund, 2 leading talents of national “Ten Thousand Talents Program”, 1 national famous teacher, 1 national outstanding educator, 2 members of Teaching Guidance Committee of the Ministry of education, 3 persons selected the New Century Talents Scheme of the Ministry of Education, 1 person selected the “Youth Talent Promotion Project” of the China Association for Science and Technology, 6 academic and technical leaders in Sichuan Province, 1 expert with outstanding contribution in Sichuan Province, 9 winners of Thousand Talents Program in Sichuan Province, 1 Tianfu famous teacher of “Tianfu Ten Thousand Talents Program” in Sichuan Province, 3 famous teachers in teaching and education of Sichuan Province, and 3 German “Humboldt scholars”.

The school has been attaching great importance on education and cultivation talents since founded. It has abundant teaching resources and possesses National Engineering Foundation Course - Mechanics Teaching Base, National Mechanics Experimental Teaching Demonstration Center and Sichuan Experimental Center of Fundamentals and Applications of Mechanics Virtual Simulation. The school has two national teaching teams – fundamental mechanics and engineering mechanics. The courses Theoretical Mechanics, Mechanics of Materials and Engineering Mechanics are rated the national top-quality curriculums, national top-quality sharing course, national top-quality open online course as well as the first massive open online courses (MOOC).

The textbooks Theoretical Mechanics, Mechanics of Materials, Engineering Mechanics, Vibration Mechanics, Elastic Mechanics, Nonlinear Vibration, Random Vibration, Kinetic Stability etc. have been adopted by over 600 universities, among which Mechanics of Materials, Engineering Mechanics, Vibration Mechanics were selected as National Textbooks for 12th Five-Year Plan. It is worth noting that Mechanics of Materials edited by professor Sun Xunfang has a profound impacted on generations of mechanics learners and was used up to now. Moreover, State Education Commission awarded the textbook first prize of Excellent Textbooks for Colleges and Universities.

The school has undertaken the courses of Theoretical Mechanics, Mechanics of Materials, Engineering Mechanics, Architectural Mechanics, Elastic Mechanics for over 20 majors of civil engineering, mechanical engineering, materials and mechanics. The school has also made prominent achievements, including 7 National Teaching Achievement Awards (5 awards mainly undertaken by the school), and 10 Sichuan Teaching Achievement Awards.

In scientific research, the school set up Applied Mechanics and Structure Safety of Key Laboratory of Sichuan Provincial, forming the specific research directions such as constitutive relation of mechanics under complex conditions, safety assessment of mechanics damage and structure, nonlinear kinetics and stability theory, fluid-structure interaction dynamics, computational mechanics, innovative and cross mechanics. Furthermore, the school has one Sichuan youth science and technology innovation team.

In recent five years, the school has taken charge of 55 national research projects, including 1 project funded by National Science Fund for Distinguished Young Scholars, 2 key projects funded by National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC), 28 projects funded by General Program of NSFC and 16 projects funded by Science Fund for Distinguished Young Scholars.

The school has undertaken 20 ministerial and provincial projects and 172 consultancy projects, with a total fund of over CNY 78 million. In addition, the school faculty has published more than 300 SCI papers, among which one professor has been selected by Elsevier (in mechanics of materials) as one of the most cited Chinese researchers for 6 years and 7 papers were included by the most cited list of ESI. During these years, the school has been awarded 2 second prize of nature science granted by Ministry of Education (MOE), 1 prize of Sichuan Science Technology Improvement Award and 1 prize of Chinese Society of Theoretical and Applied Mechanics.

Since its beginnings, the school has been persisting in the policy of putting emphasis on international exchange and cooperation. It built cooperative relations with global higher education institutions and universities, such as University of Michigan in America, Sorbonne university in France, Entrepreneurial University in Germany, Purdue University in America, Monash University in Australia. The school has also launched academic programs with Georgia Institute of Technology in America, Northwestern University in America, The University of Sydney in Australia etc. to jointly cultivate graduates. Meanwhile, the school initiated short-term exchange visits with Imperial College London in UK, Chiba University in Japan, The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology etc. All of these international programs like studying abroad, studying tour, and academic visit provide opportunities for all students of the school to study abroad and cultivate their global perspective.

Currently, the school has 776 students, including 609 undergraduates, 167 graduates (including1 international graduate) and 102 Ph.D. candidates. Owing to excellent school culture and spirit, the school established a well-developed system for improving scientific innovation ability, which made faculty and students win more than 30 awards in national science & technology innovation contest and discipline competition. The school also has a thorough scholarship system to reward excellent students and support students from poor family in completing their education successfully.

The school set up a variety of student associations such as Mechanics Association of SWJTU (Southwest Jiaotong University), Association of Model Aeronautics, Di’li Media, and Vanguard of Party Members. These associations carry out various and colorful cohort activities, group activities, social practice activities etc., which improves students’ comprehensive quality and scientific research ability. Graduate employment rate of the school is always on top, among which further education rate of undergraduates ranks top 1 in the university. Graduates of the school are also highly prized by enterprises and employers.

Looking forward, faculty and students of the school will continue to carry forward the SWJTU spirit of “Cultivate Talents to Rejuvenate the Chinese Nation and Strive Unceasingly” and the SWJTU tradition of “Strict Requirements of Rigorous Scholarship of Teaching”. The school will be devoting itself to being a well-known and first-class mechanics talent training base internationally and domestically.