Kamrin Group
Continuum modeling from solids to fluids


Academic Background

Ken received a BS in Engineering Physics at UC Berkeley in 2003 and a PhD in applied mathematics from MIT in 2008.  His PhD work under Professor Martin Bazant was in the field of dense granular flow. In 2010, Ken received the Nicholas Metropolis Award from the American Physical Society and the Journal of Computational Physics for best doctoral thesis in computational physics. After his graduate studies, Ken served for three years as an NSF Postdoctoral Research Fellow and Applied Mathematics Lecturer at Harvard University in the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences where he worked with professors John Hutchinson, L. Mahadevan, and Howard Stone. In 2011, Ken joined the faculty of the department of Mechanical Engineering at MIT, and shortly thereafter received an appointment as the Class of 1956 Career Development Chair.  He was awarded the NSF CAREER Award at the end of 2012 and won the 2015 Eshelby Mechanics Award for Young Faculty, cited for "fundamental contributions to mechanics of granular media". In 2016 Ken won the Journal of Applied Mechanics Award for work on Eulerian-frame fluid-solid computational modeling, as well as the Ruth and Joel Spira Teaching Award from the MIT School of Engineering. He was named the Annual Speaker for the Danish Center for Applied Mathematics and Mechanics in 2018. Ken also serves on the Editorial Board for the journals Computational Particle Mechanics and Granular Matter. He is currently on the Board of Directors for the Society of Engineering Science.

Ken has organized a number of conferences and symposia within mechanics and applied science. These include the Simple Person's Applied Math Seminar at MIT (2006-2007), the Mechanics: Modeling, Experimentation, Computation seminar at MIT (2011-current), the NEW.Mech workshop (2010-current), the New England Granular Materials Workshop (2011), and the international conference Modeling Granular Media Across Scales (2014).  He also organizes the APS focus session on Continuum Descriptions of Discrete Media (2011-current), the Amorphous Solids topic at ASME Congress (2012), and the Multiscale Mechanics of Particulate Media symposium for the Society of Engineering Science. Ken is a member of SIAM, APS, and AMS, and ASME.

Growing Up On The Stage

  Ken backstage before a performance with the MIT Musical Theater Guild in 2007.  

Ken is from the Bay Area of California and has had an unusual upbringing for a scientist. Ken's mother is the founder of Stars 2000 teen musical theater company where she is the producer, choreographer, and musical director for several musicals per year. He was raised performing in shows and the stage is Ken's second home. In fact, the name "Ken Kamrin" was chosen by his parents for its alliterative appeal on a marquee.  This theatrical side of Ken's personality is usually easy to see in his talks and lectures.  Father Terry and sister Kacey remain musically active, both jazz enthusiasts and singers.  Acting, singing, and dancing are the mainstays of the Kamrin family vitality and it doesn't take much to get the family to break into harmony!