A leader in polymeric materials and soft composites research, Mary C. Boyce studies the connections between multi-scale material structure and nonlinear mechanical behavior. Her work on the interplay between micro-geometry and the inherent physical behavior of materials has led to innovative hybrid material designs that that apply to wide-ranging industrial and academic fields, including polymer processing, composite material design, soft actuators and pattern transforming materials, tire mechanics, as well as biological cells and tissues.
Boyce is particularly interested in the multi-scale and nonlinear mechanics of polymers, soft composites and natural material systems. Her work seeks to leverage mechanistic understanding of how the microstructural features of soft materials over multiple lengthscales determine macroscopic behavior (from nanometers to micrometers to macroscale); this understanding is then used to design new materials that provide unique and transformative mechanical properties. Boyce received a B.S. in Engineering Science and Mechanics in 1981 from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Mechanical Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in 1984 and 1987. Prior to joining Columbia, she was on the MIT faculty for more than 25 years, including as Head of the Department of Mechanical Engineering from 2008 to 2013. She is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, and the American Academy of Mechanics, and was elected to the National Academy of Engineering in 2012.