Pense, Alan

Alan W. Pense ‘62Ph.D. is provost emeritus and professor emeritus of materials science and engineering. During his tenure at Lehigh he also served as chair of the Department of Materials Science and Engineering and dean of the College of Engineering and Applied Science.

Pense joined the faculty in 1957 and received his Ph.D. from Lehigh in 1962. He was coauthor of the funding proposal that led to the establishment in 1986 of Lehigh’s ATLSS (Advanced Technology for Large Structural Systems) Center. Researchers at ATLSS conduct cutting-edge research into the design and materials used in bridges and other large structures. They develop technologies that improve the performance of structures over the life cycle for which they are designed.

Pense is a specialist in physical and mechanical metallurgy and his teaching and research is in these areas. He has been extensively involved in research and consulting in the welding, joining and failure analysis of large structures and for three years was associate director of the Center for ATLSS.

Pense has gained renown for his work with stressed and fatigued bridges. He has inspected numerous cracked and failed bridges, including the Liberty Bridge and I-79 Bridge in Pittsburgh in 1979 and the second Silver Bridge in West Virginia in 1985. The original Silver Bridge collapsed in 1967, killing 40 people. Lehigh engineers conducted the forensic analysis of that failure.

Pense is a fellow of the ASM International and the American Welding Society and a member of the National Academy of Engineering. He won teaching awards from Lehigh University, the American Society for Engineering Education and the American Welding Society and a number of awards for research papers from the American Welding Society. He served as Adams Memorial Lecturer and Plummer Memorial Lecturer for this society.

He is the co-author of Structure and Properties of Materials, 4th edition and served as member and chair of the Welding Handbook Committee.

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Alan Pense

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