Tod Laursen is Chair of the Department of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science in the Pratt School of Engineering at Duke University. He received a BS in Mechanical Engineering from Oregon State University in 1986, and an MS and Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from Stanford University in 1989 and 1992, respectively. He is the recipient of numerous honors and awards including a CAREER award from the National Science Foundation and a Young Investigator Award from the Office of Naval Research. He is the Editor-In-Chief of the Elsevier Journal, Finite Elements in Analysis and Design, and author of the new research monograph Computational Contact and Impact Mechanics, which was published by Springer in March of 2002.

Professor Laursen's research interests concern the development and application of computational methods for nonlinear applications in solid and structural mechanics, with particular emphasis on algorithms for the treatment of contact-impact phenomena.

John Dolbow is the Yoh Family Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Duke University. He received a BS in Mechanical Engineering from the University of New Hampshire in 1995, and an MS and Ph.D. in Theoretical and Applied Mechanics from Northwestern University in 1998 and 1999, respectively. His research activities have been recognized by a Gallagher Young Investigator Award from the US Association for Computational Mechanics and a Young Investigator Award from the IACM. His research activities primarily focus on the development of numerical methods for evolving interface problems and studying defects in material systems. He is also one of the progenitors of the eXtended Finite Element Method (X-FEM).