K.T. Ramesh

Director, HEMI

K.T. Ramesh, the Alonzo G. Decker, Jr., Professor of Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, is known for research in impact physics and the failure of materials under extreme conditions. Ramesh also is a professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering and holds joint appointments in the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences and the Department of Materials Science and Engineering. He is the founding director of the Hopkins Extreme Materials Institute (HEMI), which addresses the ways in which people, structures and the planet interact with and respond to extreme environments. HEMI brings together experts from Johns Hopkins’ Whiting School of Engineering, Krieger School of Arts and Sciences, and Applied Physics Laboratory, as well as scientists and engineers from other universities, government, and industry.

Ramesh’s current research focuses on the design of materials for extreme conditions, the massive failure of rocks and ceramics, impact processes in planetary science, and impact biomechanics. In one project, his lab is developing a detailed digital model of the human brain to help address how brain injury results from head impacts. Other current projects include the use of laser shock experiments to study the deformation and failure of protection materials for the U.S. Army, the use of data science approaches in materials design, the development of a hypervelocity facility for defense and space applications, and modeling the disruption of asteroids that could hit the Earth. He has written over 200 archival journal publications and is the author of the book “Nanomaterials: Mechanics and Mechanisms.”

Ramesh has received numerous research awards including the Murray Medal and the Lazan and Hetenyi awards, all from the Society for Experimental Mechanics. He is a recipient of the Johns Hopkins University’s William H. Huggins Award for Excellence in Teaching. Ramesh is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Academy of Mechanics, the Society for Experimental Mechanics, and the American Society of Mechanical Engineers. He served as president of the Society of Engineering Science and has played a leadership role in other professional societies. He holds memberships in a number of scientific societies, and provides scientific advice to national and international advisory bodies.

Ramesh received his bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from the Bangalore University, in India, in 1982. He then studied at Brown University, where he received an ScM in Solid Mechanics in 1985, an ScM in Applied Mathematics in 1987, and a PhD in Solid Mechanics in 1988. Ramesh completed postdoctoral work in solid mechanics at the University of California, San Diego, before joining the Whiting School of Engineering faculty in 1988. He served as chair of the Department of Mechanical Engineering from 1999 to 2002.

Sometimes the best way to make something better is to break it.


Brown University


Brown University

Ph.D. 1988

Brown University

Sc.M. (Eng.) 1985, Sc.M. (Applied Math.) 1987

Bangalore University

B.E. 1982


Hopkins Extreme Materials Institute

Director, Present

Center for Advanced Metallic and Ceramic Systems

Director, 2001-2014

The Johns Hopkins University

Professor of Mechanical Engineering, since 1997

Departments of Engineering and Physics, University of Cambridge

Visiting Professor, 2002-2003

Mechanical Engineering, The Johns Hopkins University

Chair, 1999-2002

Materials Science & Engineering, The Johns Hopkins University

Professor (secondary appointment), 1997

The Johns Hopkins University

Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering, 1993

The Johns Hopkins University

Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering, 1988

Center of Excellence in Advanced Materials, University of California at San Diego

Postdoctoral Fellow, 1988

Projects & Profile


  • Dynamics of human tissues and traumatic brain injury
  • Shock, impact, and wave propagation
  • Nanomaterials, nanoscale phenomena
  • High strain rate behavior of materials
  • Dynamic failure mechanisms
  • Planetary impact and fragmentation



Get in Contact

Malone 140


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