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Lorraine G. Olson

Head of the Department of Mechanical Engineering and Professor

Dr. Lorraine Olson is an expert at applying finite element methodologies to non-traditional areas, such as ultrasonic cleaning of semiconductor wafers, laser welding, online machine tool monitoring, rotational molding of polymers, wear-resistant coatings, inverse electrocardiography, and early detection of breast cancer. A strong proponent for student undergraduate research experiences, she co-founded the institute's Independent Projects and Research Opportunities Program and has received the Board of Trustees Outstanding Scholar Award. Dr. Olson is a fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers. She is working with colleagues and several students on a National Science Foundation-supported research project that's focusing on using inverse problems in the early detection of breast cancer. Check out her personal web page.

Teaching Interests

  • Mechatronics
  • Computer programming
  • Solid mechanics
  • Finite element analysis

Research Experiences

  • Nontraditional applications of finite element analysis
  • Inverse problems, especially early detection of breast cancer

Publications & Presentations

  • Olson, L., Throne, R. and Nolte, A., “An Inverse Problem Approach to Early Detection of Breast Cancer,” Inverse Problems Symposium, 2016
  • Olson, L., Throne, R., Nolte, A., Crump, A., He, W., Jones, M., Douglas, C., Conrad, M. and Cottingham, E., “Early Detection of Breast Cancer Through an Inverse Problem Approach to Stiffness Mapping: Preliminary Results from Tissue Phantom Experiments,” 13th U.S. National Congress on Computational Mechanics, 2015
  • Olson, L. and Throne, R., “An Inverse Problem Approach to Early Detection of Breast Cancer” (Invited Presentation), Leaders in Engineering Lectures, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, 2015
  • Panelist, Careers in Undergraduate Engineering Education, Purdue University, 2015
  • Panelist, Women Researchers Forum, 13th U.S. National Congress on Computational Mechanics, 2015
  • Olson, L. and Throne, R., “An Inverse Problem Approach to Stiffness Mapping for Early Detection of Breast Cancer,” Inverse Problems in Science and Engineering, Vol. 21, 314-338, 2013
  • Olson, L. and Throne, R., “Numerical Simulation of an Inverse Method for Tumor Size and Location Estimation,” Inverse Problems in Science and Engineering, Vol. 18, 813-834, 2010
  • Olson, L., Throne, R. and Rost, E., “Improved Inverse Solutions for On-Line Machine Tool Monitoring,” Journal of Manufacturing Science and Engineering, American Society of Mechanical Engineers, Vol. 126, 311-316, 2004
  • Gorishnyy, T. Z., Olson, L. G., Oden, M., Aouadi, S. M. and Rohde, S. L., “Optimization of Wear-Resistant Coating Architectures Using Finite Element Analysis,” Journal of Vacuum Science and Technology A, Vol. 21, 332-339, 2003
  • Throne, R. D., Olson, L. G. and Windle, J. R., “A New Method for Incorporating Weighted Temporal and Spatial Smoothing in the Inverse Problem of Electrocardiography,” Transactions on Biomedical Engineering, Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers, Vol. 49,  1,054-1,059, 2002

Awards & Honors

  • Board of Trustees Outstanding Scholar, Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, 2013
  • Fellow, American Society of Mechanical Engineers, 1999

Academic Degrees

  • PhD, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1985
  • MS, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1983
  • BS, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1980