Marquette University News Release

Marquette engineering professor awarded research sabbatical

June 24, 2011

John Borg, associate professor of mechanical engineering, is the recipient of Marquette University’s Way Klingler Sabbatical Fellowship for the 2011—12 academic year. The annual award is granted based on prior scholarly research and potential for substantive contribution to the discipline.

Borg researches “shock physics” and will spend the 2011-12 academic year at the Fraunhofer Institut für Kurzzeitdynamik in Freiburg, Germany. Borg and his collaborators will combine their expertise to better understand damage associated with traumatic brain injury. They’ll conduct experiments by firing projectiles with an air gun against a foam target to induce a shock in the target.

“We instrument the target with a variety of gauges so we can measure the shock profile,” said Borg. “We can also assess damage done to the target by examining it after impact.”

Borg’s collaborators in Germany have been researching at the molecular level of shock physics and working toward a centimeter scale, while Borg has been working at a centimeter scale trying to get down to the molecular level. They hope to combine their expertise to bridge the gap between large and small
scales. Their findings will contribute to the understanding of how protective and safety materials prevent injuries from shock and impacts, such as those experienced during an explosion, sports collision and accidents.

Borg began working on shock-related problems for the U.S. Navy in 1996. “Over the next five years I worked on problems associated with understanding shock propagation through solids and liquids,” he said.

He holds a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Memphis, a master’s degree in aerospace engineering from the University of Notre Dame, and a doctorate in mechanical engineering from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.

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