Hilary Bart-Smith

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Hilary Bart-Smith is a Scottish mechanical engineer known for her work on biologically inspired structures including robot fish. She is professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering at the University of Virginia, where she is the founder of both the Multifunctional Materials and Structures Laboratory and the Bio-inspired Engineering Research Laboratory.[1]

Education and career[]

Bart-Smith studied mechanical engineering at the University of Glasgow, earning first-class honors there in 1995. She came to the US for graduate study at Harvard University, where she completed a Ph.D. in engineering sciences in 2000, supervised by Anthony G. Evans and John W. Hutchinson.[2][3]

After postdoctoral research at Princeton University, she joined the department of mechanical and aerospace engineering at the University of Virginia in 2002.[2]


Bart-Smith's doctoral dissertation, Metallic Foams: Performance and Use in Ultralight Sandwich Structures, concerned the structural properties of metal foams and metal sandwich panels. Her subsequent research has included the development of underwater robot fish whose swimming motions mimic manta rays[4][5] and tuna.[6][7][8] Her research has also included the use of tensile structures to provide portable emergency shelter.[9]


  1. ^ "Hilary Bart-Smith, Professor", Faculty, University of Virginia Engineering, retrieved 2021-02-19
  2. ^ Jump up to: a b Curriculum vitae (PDF), July 2009, retrieved 2021-02-19
  3. ^ Hilary Bart-Smith at the Mathematics Genealogy Project
  4. ^ Dye, Lee (14 August 2012), "The Amazing Mechanical Manta Ray: Engineers Copy Nature", ABC News
  5. ^ Samarrai, Fariss (28 March 2008), "Manta ray-inspired undersea vehicle concept wins Hilary Bart-Smith a $6.5 million award from US Office of Naval Research", UVA Today, University of Virginia
  6. ^ "The robot tuna outbeating swimmers", Digital Planet, BBC, 16 October 2019
  7. ^ Crane, Leah (18 September 2019), "Fast swimming fish robot could perform underwater surveillance", New Scientist
  8. ^ Kettlewell, Caroline (Winter 2019), "Researchers try to outswim a tuna", Virginia Magazine, University of Virginia
  9. ^ Newman, Caroline (13 January 2016), "From refugee shelters to batteries, new grants advance promising research", UVA Today, University of Virginia

External links[]

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