Alex Vakakis

Alex Vakakis
Alex Vakakis he/him/his
Donald Biggar Willett Professor
(217) 333-3048
3003 Mechanical Engineering Lab

For More Information


  • PhD in Applied Mechanics, Department of Applied Mechanics, California Institute of Technology, 1990
  • MSc in Advanced Applied Mechanics, Diploma of Imperial College, Department of Mechanical Engineering, Imperial College of Science and Technology, University of London, 1985
  • Diploma Degree of Mechanical Engineering, Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Patras, Greece, 1984

Academic Positions

  • Co-affiliated Professor, University of Stuttgart, 2022 – to date.
  • Donald Biggar Willett Professor of Engineering, Department of Mechanical Science and Engineering, UIUC, August 2018-to date
  • Affiliate Professor, Department of Aerospace Engineering, UIUC, August 2008-date
  • W. Grafton and Lillian B. Wilkins Professor, Department of Mechanical Engineering, UIUC, August 2008-July 2013
  • Adjunct Professor, Department of Aerospace Engineering, UIUC, August 2004-August 2008
  • Adjunct Professor, Department of Mechanical Science and Engineering, August 2001-August 2008
  • Professor, Department of Applied Mathematical and Physical Sciences, National Technical University of Athens, 2001-2008
  • Faculty Fellow, Department of Theoretical & Applied Mechanics, UIUC, 1999-2001
  • Professor, Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering (100%), UIUC, August 1999 - August 2001
  • Visiting Professor, Department of Civil Engineering, National Technical University, Athens, Greece (during sabbatical leave), September 1996-January 1997
  • Associate Professor, Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering (100%), UIUC, August 1995 - August 1999
  • Assistant Professor, Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering (100%), UIUC, August 1990–August 1995
  • Executive Teaching Assistant, Department of Applied Mechanics, California Institute of Technology, October 1989-June 1990
  • Research Assistant, Department of Applied Mechanics, California Institute of Technology, June 1989-October 1989
  • Teaching Assistant, Department of Applied Mechanics, California Institute of Technology, October 1987-June 1988

Other Professional Employment

  • Research Assistant, Research Center for National Defense, Athens, Greece, March 1986-Sept 1987 (during military conscription in the Hellenic Army)

Short Courses

  • Targeted Energy Transfer in Nonlinear Dynamical Systems and Nonlinear System Identification of Broad Applicability, A.F. Vakakis (organizer) and D.M. McFarland, Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) Workshop, Dayton, OH, August 10-12, 2009.
  • Vibration Testing and Identification of Linear and Nonlinear Systems, J.-C. Golinval and G. De Roeck (co-ordinators). Seven lectures on fundamentals of nonlinear dynamics, Stability, Identification and Control in Nonlinear Structural Dynamics (SICON) short course, Marie Curie Action (European Commission), University of Liege, Liege, July 6-10, 2009.
  • Nonlinear Normal Modes: A Useful Framework for the Structural Dynamicist, G. Kerschen, M. Peeters and A.F. Vakakis. Preconference Course 105, 27th International Modal Analysis Conference – IMAC-XXVII, Orlando, FL, February 8, 2009.
  • Advanced Nonlinear Strategies for Vibration Mitigation and System Identification, A.F. Vakakis (co-ordinator), L.A. Bergman, D.M.McFarland, O. Gendelman, L.I. Manevitch, G. Kerschen. International Centre for Mechanical Sciences (CISM) Course, Udine, Italy, June 16-20, 2008.

Research Areas

  • Applied Physics
  • Computation and Applied Math
  • Dynamics & Controls
  • Energy
  • Manufacturing
  • Security and Defense
  • Solid Mechanics and Materials
  • Transportation

Books Authored or Co-Authored (Original Editions)

Books Edited or Co-Edited (Original Editions)

Chapters in Books

  • G. Kerschen, A.F. Vakakis, "Modal Analysis of Nonlinear Mechanical Systems," Contributed chapter in the Society of Engineering Mechanics (SEM) Handbook of Experimental Structural Dynamics, R. Allemang, P. Avitabile (eds.), 2020.
  • S. Dhamasena, R. Potekin, L.A. Bergman, A.F. Vakakis, H. Cho, "Intentional Strong Nonlinearities in Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM)," Chapter in Contributions to Advanced Dynamics and Continuum Mechanics, H. Altenbach, H. Irschik, V. Matveenko (eds.), Advanced Structured Materials 114, Springer Nature Switzerland AG, 2019.
  • K.J. Moore, M. Kurt, M. Eriten, D.M. McFarland, L.A. Bergman, A.F. Vakakis, "Elements of a Nonlinear System Identification Methodology of Broad Applicability and Application to Bolted Joints," Chapter in The Mechanics of Jointed Structures, Recent Research and Open Challenges for Developing Predictive Models for Structural Dynamics, M.R.W. Brake (ed.), Springer Verlag, Berlin, ISBN: 978-3-319-56816-4 (Print), 978-3-319-56818-8 (Online), 2018.
  • Cho, H., L.A. Bergman, M.-F. Yu, and A.F. Vakakis, "Intentional Nonlinearity for Design of Micro/Nanomechanical Resonators," Contributed chapter in Nanocantilever Beams Modeling, Fabrication and Applications, M. Zaghloul, and I. Voiculescu (eds.), Pan Stanford Publishing Pte. Ltd, ISBN 978-981-4613-23-1 (Hardcover), 978-981-4613-24-8 (eBook), 2015.
  • Vakakis A.F., "Analytical Techniques for Nonlinear Periodic Media," Wave Propagation in Linear and Nonlinear Periodic Media," F. Romeo and M. Ruzzenne (eds.), International Center for Mechanical Sciences (CISM) Courses and Lectures, Springer Verlag, Berlin and New York, 2013.
  • Manevitch, L., and A. F. Vakakis, “Exact Solutions for a Discrete System Undergoing Free Vibro-impact Oscillations,” Dynamics of Vibro-Impact Systems, V.I. Babitsky, ed., Springer Verlag, Berlin, Heidelberg, New York, 2001.
  • Vakakis, A. F., “Nonlinear Vibrations: Nonlinear Normal Modes,” Encyclopedia of Vibration, S. G. Braun, D. J. Ewins, S. S. Rao, eds., Academic Press, London, 2001.

Selected Articles in Journals


Professional Societies

  • Member, ASME AMD Dynamics and Control of Structures and Systems Technical Committee, 1997-1999
  • Member, ASME Technical Committee on Applied Mechanics, 1996-1997
  • Member, ASME Technical Committee on Sound and Vibration, 1995-2001
  • Member of the Technical Committee, European Association of Structural Dynamics (EASD), 2009-date
  • Member, Technical Chamber of Greece
  • Member (Treasurer, 2001-08), Hellenic Society of Theoretical and Applied Mechanics (HSTAM)
  • Member, European Association for Structural Dynamics (EASD)
  • Fellow, American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME)


  • Tau Beta Pi Daniel C. Drucker Eminent Faculty Award (2023)
  • Alexander von Humboldt Research Award (2019)
  • ASME Thomas K. Caughey Award (2014)

Teaching Honors

  • Listed in the Daily Illini "List of Teachers Ranked as Excellent by Their Students," for Spring 1993, Fall 1993, Spring 1994, Fall 1994, Fall 1995, Spring 1998, Spring 1999 (outstanding rating), Fall 2009, Fall 2010, Spring 2011, Fall 2011, Spring 2012 (for two concurrent courses), Fall 2012, Spring 2014, Spring 2015 (outstanding rating), Fall 2015 (outstanding rating), Spring 2016, Fall 2016, Spring 2017, Spring 2018, Fall 2018, Spring 2019, Fall 2021 semesters.

Research Honors

  • Greek Diaspora Fellowship, Institute of International Education (IIE) in collaboration with the Fulbright Foundation, Greece, 2019
  • Edmond J. Safra Fellowship, Technion - Israel Institute of Technology, Israel, 2019
  • National High-End Foreign Expert of China (2015 - to date)
  • Zhejiang Province 1000 Global Expert Fellowship, P.R. China (2016 - 2021)
  • ASME Fellow, 2012
  • Institution of Mechanical Engineers Thomas Bernard Hall Prize 2011 (for the archival journal paper ‘Current Efforts Towards A Nonlinear System Identification Methodology of Broad Applicability,’ Journal of Mechanical Engineering Science - Part C of the Proceedings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, UK, 2011, Vol. 225, pp. 2497-2515, "…Awarded to the author(s) of any original communications(s) dealing with invention, design or research in Mechanical Engineering published by the Institution during the previous year, which is of sufficient merit…")
  • PE Publishing Award 2008 (for the archival journal paper ‘Passive Non-linear Targeted Energy Transfer and its Applications to Vibration Absorption: A Review,’ Journal of Multi-body Dynamics - Part K of the Proceedings of the IMechE, Vol. 222, K2, 77-134, selected by the Editor-in-Chief and the Editorial Board as the best paper published in the Journal in 2008).
  • World Class Visiting Scientist Program, Air Force Research Laboratory, Dayton, OH, 2009
  • Xerox Award for Faculty Research, College of Engineering, University of Illinois, 1999
  • University Scholar Award, UIUC, 1996-1999
  • Junior Xerox Award for Faculty Research, College of Engineering, University of Illinois, 1995
  • NSF Young Investigator Award, National Science Foundation, 1994-1999
  • Center for Advanced Study Fellowship, University of Illinois, 1994-1995
  • Research Initiation Award, National Science Foundation, 1992-1995
  • Travel Award, US National Committee on Theoretical and Applied Mechanics, 1992
  • De' Karman Graduate Fellowship, De' Karman Fellowship Trust, 1989-90
  • Powell Graduate Fellowship, California Institute of Technology, 1988-89
  • Undergraduate Excellence Award, Technical Chamber of Greece, 1983-84
  • Two Undergraduate Scholarships, Hellenic State Scholarships Institution, 1981-83
  • Honorary Diploma, Hellenic Mathematical Society (E.M.E.), for top ranking in the Pan-Hellenic student competition in Mathematics, 1979

Recent Courses Taught

  • AE 554 (TAM 516) - Dynamical Systems Theory
  • ME 340 - Dynamics of Mechanical Systems
  • TAM 412 - Intermediate Dynamics
  • TAM 416 (AE 452) - Intro to Nonlinear Dyn & Vib
  • TAM 514 (AE 551) - Elastodynamics and Vibrations