Jacques Giovanola

Jacques Giovanola has been a member of the ENSI Board since 1 January 2012. His training and experience are such that he is particularly involved in supervising engineering and research activities within ENSI.

He has been an Honorary Professor of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne (EPFL) since April 2015, having been Professor of Mechanical Design here from 1996 to 2015. At fundamental level, his research activities at EPFL include ductile fracture mechanics, funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation, and in the applied field he has carried out research into unconventional manufacturing processes (micromachining and ultrasonic machining) and highly dynamic systems using such processes (e.g. ultra-high-speed spindles). The applied research was financed either by the Commission for Technology and Innovation (CTI) or directly by Swiss industrial companies. Jacques was also Dean of the EPFL’s Postgraduate School from 2006 to 2012. He has also been an honorary member of a number of public or private bodies:

  • Expert in the CTI’s Engineering Division
  • Swiss representative on the board of the international Intelligent Manufacturing Systems organisation (IMS)
  • EPFL representative for the Swissmem Research Commission and the Scientific Board of the University Institute Kurt Bösch
  • Member of the board of the Swiss Welding Institute and (founding) member of the board of Association Manufuture-CH
  • Board member for Plumettaz SA, Bex, and Giovanola Amusement Rides Worldwide SA, Monthey

Between 1980 and 1996, Jacques held various positions at SRI International, Menlo Park, California. His work in this private contract research organisation was in the field of fracture dynamics and structures, financed by US government agencies (Air Force Office of Scientific Research, Army Research Office, Naval Surface Weapons Center, Oak Ridge National Laboratory/Nuclear Regulatory Commission) or by the private sector in the US or abroad (Electric Power Research Institute, Isuzu Motors, United Technologies Chemical Systems Division, IRSID). He has made a significant contribution to research in areas such as pressurised thermal shock in nuclear reactor vessels and in the analysis of ageing of irradiated materials using small samples of the materials. He has also carried out accident assessments (e.g. explosion of the 34D-9 Titan rocket during lift-off in April 1986).

Jacques graduated in mechanical engineering from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne (EPFL) in 1976 and obtained his doctorate from the University of California, Berkeley in 1980. His doctoral thesis was funded by the US Department of Energy and examined ductile fracture in nuclear reactor vessels and coal gasifiers. He has also studied ceramic fracture and ductile mode machining of glass to produce aspherical lenses for lasers in the field of nuclear fission (Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory).