IOANNIS VARDOULAKIS (22.03.1949 – 19.09.2009)

It is with our deepest regret to announce that Ioannis (John) Vardoulakis, Professor of Mechanics at the National Technical University of Athens has passed away. He died in the morning hours of 19th September, aged 60, after suffering serious brain damage caused by an accidental fall some days earlier.

John was born in Chania, Crete, in 1949. He received the diploma of Civil Engineer from the National Technical University of Athens (NTUA) in 1972 and was awarded a Ph.D. in Soil Mechanics by the University of Karlsruhe, Germany, in 1977. He served as a research fellow in the University of Karlsruhe and later on moved to the University of Minnesota (USA) where he reached the position of Professor of Geomechanics. In 1990, John was elected Pro-fessor of Mechanics at the NTUA.

John’s influential research activity covered an impressive variety of subjects associated both with the fields of Geomechanics and that of Engineering Mechanics. His prolific work in-cluded contributions to the analysis of stress instability, bifurcation theory, strain concentra-tion, wave propagation, micromechanics, elasticity, plasticity, fracture, thermomechanics and thermoporomechanics. He also provided innovations in the analysis of liquefaction in sands and slope stability. He excelled in the study of stability and mechanical behaviour of ancient monuments, on of them being the landmark study of the Parthenon Marbles. His was a gift to approach subjects both from a theoretical and experimental view, while his ingenuous ex-perimental setups gave him not only international recognition and awards, but also a number of patent licences. 

He was honoured with the Bishop Award for Geotechnical Research by the Institution of Civil Engineers in the United Kingdom. He was also awarded with the Medal “Distinguished Research in Geomechanics” by the Japanese Geotechnical Association. He authored of a large number of national and international publications and his research is continuously referenced in the work of other reputed researchers.

John was a strong believer in the fundamental role of pure sciences, especially mathematics, as a tool in research. He has nurtured generations of students and researchers. He set up a world class research team and a state of the art research laboratory in the NTUA with funding from the European Programme IDEAS. He was tireless and a champion of high quality educa-tion and career progression based on merit.

He was a highly cultivated individual with an exceptional command of the Greek language and a forceful promoter of his opinions. But above all, he was an exceptional human being.