Mary Boyce


510 S.W. Mudd

Tel(212) 854-1123
Fax(212) 854-0104

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. As dean of Columbia Engineering, Boyce is committed to fostering highly interdisciplinary collaborations in research and education.

Research Interests

Mechanics of materials, molecular and nanomechanics of human-made and natural polymers, soft composites, natural materials, bio-inspired materials

Research Areas

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.

Professional Experience

  • Dean of Engineering, Columbia University, 2013–Present
  • Morris A. and Alma Schapiro Professor of Engineering, Columbia University 2013-Present
  • Ford Professor of Engineering, MIT, 2011–2013
  • Gail E. Kendall (1978) Professor of Mechanical Engineering, MIT, 2000–2011
  • Department Head of Mechanical Engineering, MIT, 2008–2013
  • Joined the MIT faculty, 1987

Professional Affilliations

  • American Society of Mechanical Engineers  
  • American Academy of Mechanics
  • National Academy of Engineering

Honors & Awards

  • Fellow, American Academy of Arts and Sciences
  • Fellow, American Society of Mechanical Engineers  
  • Fellow, American Academy of Mechanics
  • Member, National Academy of Engineering
  • Engineering Science Medal, Society of Engineering Science 2015
  • Honorary Professor, Zhejiang University 2015
  • MacVicar Faculty Fellow, MIT
  • Joseph Henry Keenan Innovation in Undergraduate Teaching Award, MIT
  • ASME Special Achievement Award for Young Investigator in Applied Mechanics, 1998
  • Dupont Young Faculty Award, 1992–1995
  • ALCOA Foundation Award
  • National Science Foundation Presidential Young Investigator Award, 1991

Selected Publications

Mary Boyce has, with her students and collaborators, over 170 peer-reviewed publications in archival journals; a small sampling is provided below (please see CV for a more complete listing).

  • Guttag, M., Boyce, M.C., “Locally and Dynamically Controllable Surface Topography
  • through the Use of Particle-Enhanced Soft Composites”, Advanced Functional Materials,201501035, 2015
  • Yin, J., Boyce, M.C., “Unique Wrinkles as Identity Tags”, Nature, 520 (7546), 164-165, 2015
  • Rudykh, S., Ortiz, C., Boyce, M.C., “Flexibility and Protection by Design: Imbricated Hybrid Microstructures of Bio-Inspired Armor”, Soft Matter, 11(13), 2547-2554, 2015.
  • Rudykh, S., Boyce, M.C., “Transforming Small Localized Loading into Large Rotational Motion in Soft Anisotropically Structured Materials”, Advanced Engineering Materials, 16(11), 1311-1317, 2014
  • Li, Y., Kaynia, N., Rudykh, S., Boyce, M.C., “Wrinkling of Interfacial Layers in Stratified Composites”,  Advanced Engineering Materials, 15(10), 92`-926, 2013.
  • Li, Y., Ortiz, C., Boyce, M.C., “ A Bio-inspired Mechanical, Deterministic Fractal Model for Hierarchical Suture Joints”, Physical Review E, 85, 3, 031901, 2012.
  • Wang, L.F., Lau, J., Thomas, E.L, Boyce, M.C., “ Co-Continuous Composite Materials for Stiffness, Strength and Energy Dissipation”,  Advanced Materials,  23 13, 1524-1529, 2011.
  • Bruet, B.J.F., Song, J.H., Boyce, M.C., Ortiz, C. “Materials Design Principles of Ancient Fish Armor”, Nature Materials, 7(9), 748-756, 2008.
  • Bertoldi, K., Boyce, M.C., “Mechanically-Triggered Transformations of Phononic Band Gaps in Periodic Elastomeric Structures”,  Physical Review B,  77, 052102-1 – 052105-4, 2008.
  • Mullin, T., Deschanel, S., Bertoldi, K., Boyce, M.C., “Pattern Transformation Triggered by Deformation”, Physical Review Letters, 99, 084301, 2007.
  • Pantano, A., Boyce, M.C., Parks, D.M., “Nonlinear Structural Mechanics Based Modeling of Carbon Nanotube Deformation”, Physical Review Letters, 91(14), Art. No. 145504, 2003
  • Sheng, N., Boyce, M.C., Parks, D.M., Rutledge, G.C., Abes, J.J., Cohen, R.E., “Multiscale Micromechanical Modeling of Polymer/Clay Nanocomposites and the Effective Clay Particle”, Polymer, 45(2), 487-506, 2004.
  • Boyce, M.C., Socrate, S., Yeh, O.C., Kear, K., Shaw, K., “Micromechanisms of Deformation and Recovery in Thermoplastic Vulcanizates”, Journal of the Mechanics and Physics of Solids, 49, 1323-1342, 2001.
  • Bergstrom, J.S., Boyce, M.C., “Constitutive Modelling of the Large Strain Time-Dependent Behavior of Elastomers”, Journal of the Mechanics and Physics of Solids, 46, 931-954, 1998.
  • Arruda, E.M., Boyce, M.C., "A Three-Dimensional Constitutive Model for the Large Stretch Behavior of Rubber Elastic Materials", Journal of the Mechanics and Physics of Solids, 41, 389-412, 1993.

Our society has become both more inspired by and more demanding of engineers’ role in developing solutions to some of the most pressing global challenges, and working together we can be instrumental in building that future. 

Mary Boyce