At the start of my Ph.D. in 1980, I caught a glimpse, purely by chance, of the emerging field of computer-aided design (CAD). It intrigued and fascinated me to such an extent that I ended up scrapping my original plans, switching schools and changing my research area. Even though my new school, Ohio State, was one of only a handful of schools with computing facilities dedicated to CAD, I ran into stiff resistance when I expressed my desire to get a Ph.D. in CAD. I was told that CAD was hardly an intellectually challenging field worthy of a Ph.D. dissertation. I was directed to consider mainstream mechanical engineering areas, such as solid mechanics, vibrations, kinematics, and dynamics. The closest I could get to CAD was to do my dissertation in FEA, which allowed me to do at least part of my...

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