McCormick Prof. receives Austrian Cross of Honor

Fathma Rahman, Assistant Campus Editor

McCormick Prof. Zdeněk P. Bažant received the Austrian Cross of Honor for Science and Art, First Class, from Austrian President Heinz Fischer in Vienna on Wednesday.

The award, which was presented at Hofburg Palace, honors individuals who have earned acclaim for “especially superior creative and commendable services in the areas of the sciences or the arts,” according to a news release. Bažant said his grandparents and ancestors were all Austrian citizens.

Bažant received the award for his contributions to science. He previously served as President of Society of Engineering Science, the editor in chief of ASCE Journal of Engineering Mechanics and an Officer of National Academy of Sciences, according to the release.

Bažant is an elected member of several groups including the National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering, American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Royal Society of London, Academia Europaea and the Austrian, Czech, Italian and Spanish national academies. He holds seven honorary doctorates in addition to other awards and honors.

“I am emotionally overwhelmed by this news,” Bažant said in the release. “Because of defecting from communist Czechoslovakia, I was sentenced in absentia to jail in my native country and could not visit it for more than two decades. During that time, I liked to visit Austria, where it felt almost like home.”

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