Faculty Focus: Ying Wu

Ying Wu, KAUST associate professor of applied mathematics and computational science, won the 2017 Phononics Young Investigator Award by the International Phononics Society. Every two years, the society selects an early career researcher demonstrating research excellence in phononics for the award.

Wu received her award at The 4th International Conference on Phononic Crystals/Metamaterials, Phonon Transport/Coupling and Topological Phononics in Changsha, China, which took place from June 4 to 9, and also delivered a Young Investigator Award Lecture there.

Phononics is a branch of physics concerned with phonons. Phonons represent mechanical vibrations responsible for the transmission of sound and heat. Wu's research focuses on a fundamental part of phononics, and her aim has been to develop homogenization schemes or effective medium theories for complex systems. With the emergence of metamaterials a few decades ago, there has been increased interest in learning more about the properties of artificial materials. Wu's theory has led her to successfully design two new elastic metamaterials.


Associate Professor Ying Wu with the International Phononics Society selection committee.

"Our research may inspire applications in various arenas," Wu explained. "For instance, our elastic metamaterials may be used as building blocks in designing earthquake-proof material to reduce the hazards of natural disasters. Our acoustic metasurface could be applied to the walls of music halls in order to enhance the quality factor, shrink the size of your stereo and make it portable so you can enjoy high-quality music wherever you go, or even could be used to block sound from your neighbors to give you a quiet morning on weekends."

"I have to thank all of my students and postdocs who carried out the difficult work. Without them, it would not be possible for me to reach this height. I also want to thank the Computer, Electrical and Mathematical Science and Engineering Division and the University for the support that enables me to pursue my dream," she said.

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