over the world, and more than 25 other awards and distinctions, among them the Gauss–Newton Award from the International Association for Computational Mechanics (IACM), the von Karman Medal from the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), the Timoshenko Medal from ASME, the Laskowitz Gold Medal from the Academy of Science of New York for “the invention of the Finite Element Method,” the Prince Philip Gold Medal of the Royal Academy of Engineering, the Grand Cross of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany, and the Einstein Award from the Einstein Foundation for his “momentous work on the Finite Element Method and Chaos Theory.” He was also a fellow of the Royal Society of London, honorary member of the Executive Council of IACM, and honorary president of GACM.
John was blessed with many talents, making him a true modern Renaissance man; he was a scholar, a thinker, a teacher, a visionary, an orator, an elegant writer, a linguist. Deeply cultivated, a man with rare principles and a passionate patriot, he was also unique in blending his Mediterranean temperament with Western European rationalism.
In the paper that coined the name “Finite Element Method,” published in 1960, the world-renowned author Ray Clough refers to the finite element method as “the Argyris Method.” Von Karman’s prophetic statement that Argyris’s invention of the finite element method entailed one of the greatest discoveries in engineering mechanics and revolutionized our thinking processes more than 50 years ago was proven to be absolutely true. Indeed, the finite element method, based on John Argyris’s fundamental and far-reaching contribution, has truly revolutionized today’s engineering and scientific environments. He had the vision and intellectual capacity to develop the basic steps of the finite element method and to make numerous contributions in the development of the method. His early work “Energy Theorems of Structural Analysis,” published in 1954, is considered to be the most important series of papers ever published in the field of structural mechanics.