headshot of Kaliat T. Ramesh

Kaliat T. Ramesh

Principal Investigator, RA1–FA1

Internal (URA) Collaborators

K.T. Ramesh, the Alonzo G. Decker, Jr., Professor of Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, is a leading authority in the areas of impact physics and the failure of materials under extreme conditions. Ramesh is a professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering, and also 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 develops science and technology to protect people, structures and the planet. 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 the federal government, U.S. national laboratories, industry, and research institutions across the world.

Ramesh’s current research focuses on the design of materials for extreme conditions, hypervelocity impact, the massive failure of rocks and ceramics, impact processes in planetary science, and impact biomechanics. As an example, his research group has developed a high-fidelity computer model of the human head and brain to understand how head impacts can cause brain injury. Other current projects include the use of laser shock experiments to improve the design of protection materials, the use of data science approaches in materials design, the development of a hypervelocity facility for defense and space applications, and the development of models for the disruption or redirection 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, 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 leadership roles 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 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 at Johns Hopkins from 1999 to 2002.

Shock and Awe: Impacts in Space, Science, and Society


  • Master of Science 1987, Brown University
  • Master of Science 1985, Brown University
  • Bachelor of Engineering 1982, Bangalore University
  • 2017 – Present:  Professor, WSE Materials Science and Engineering
  • 2017 – Present:  Fellow, American Academy of Mechanics
  • 2014 – Present:  Officer, President/Elect/Past, Society of Engineering Science
  • 2012 – Present:  Director, Center for Materials in Extreme Dynamic Environments (CMEDE)
  • 2012 – Present:  Director, Center for Materials in Extreme Dynamic Environments, Johns Hopkins University
  • 2011 – Present:  Organizer and Chair, ASME
  • 2008 – 2008:  Chair, Department of Mechanical Engineering
  • 2008 – 2008:  Chair, Department of Mechanical Engineering
  • 2008 – 2008:  Chair, Whiting School of Engineering
  • 2007 – 2010:  Chair, Department of Mechanical Engineering
  • 2006 – 2006:  Graduate Board Orals, Thesis Defenses, Unspecified
  • 2006 – 2006:  Director, American Academy of Mechanics
  • 2006 – 2009:  Chair, Whiting School of Engineering
  • 2006 – 2008:  Chair, Department of Mechanical Engineering
  • 2004 – 2006:  Chair, Department of Mechanical Engineering
  • 2002 – 2010:  Past Chair, ASME AMD
  • 2001 – Present:  Director, Center for Advanced Metallic and Ceramic Systems, Johns Hopkins University
  • 2001 – 2015:  Director, Center for Advanced Metallic and Ceramic Systems
  • 2001 – 2010:  Chair, Department of Mechanical Engineering
  • 2001 – Present:  Director, Center for Advanced Metallic and Ceramic Systems at Johns Hopkins University (CAMCS)
  • 1999 – 2002:  Chair, Department of Mechanical Engineering
  • 2015:  W.M. Murray Medal
  • 2014:  M.G. McLaren Lecture Award
  • 2013:  Fellow
  • 2013:  Glass Memorial Lecturer
  • 2012:  Midwest Mechanics Lecturer
  • 2012:  B.J. Lazan Award
  • 2008:  Conference Best Poster Award: Medicine Meets Virtual Reality (MMVR) – with Allison Okamura and graduate student Sarthak Misra. 2008
  • 2006:  M. Hetenyi Award
  • 2002:  Invited Southwest Mechanics Series Lecturer – 2002
  • 2001:  Fellow – ASME
  • 1995:  William H. Huggins Award for Excellence in Teaching
  • 1994:  Honorary Member – Pi Tau Sigma
  • 1987:  Best Paper – ASME Division of Tribology
  • 1986:  Elected Member – Sigma Xi

Focus Areas