Resume - Dr. Yoseph Bar-Cohen


Dr. Yoseph Bar-Cohen, JPL, is a Senior Research Scientist, the supervisor of the Electroactive Technologies Group (x355N), Resident NDE Expert, as well as in-charge of the Nondestructive Evaluation and Advance Actuators (NDEAA) Lab that he established in 1991. He received his Ph. D. in Physics (1979) and M.Sc. in Materials Science (1973) from the Hebrew University, Jerusalem, Israel.  He is a physicist specializing in electroactive materials/mechanisms (including sample handling technologies), biomimetics and ultrasonic Non-Destructive Evaluation (NDE).  He is listed as Subject Matter Expert (SME) in NDE and Piezoelectric Actuators and Sensors on the JPL’s Procurement Quality Assurance List. Under his leadership, many innovative concepts and mechanisms were initiated, analytically modeled, simulated, developed, and experimentally tested for planetary exploration, commercial, medical, and other applications.  He made two notable discoveries of ultrasonic wave phenomena in composite materials: the polar backscattering (1979) and the leaky Lamb waves (LLW) (1983).  From Nov. 2009 to Sept. 2011, he served as the Chair of the JPL’s Senior Research Scientists Council.  Dr. Bar-Cohen is a Fellow of two technical societies: The International Society for Optical Engineering (SPIE) and the American Society for Nondestructive Testing (ASNT). 

His scientific, engineering and technology accomplishments and leadership have earned him two NASA Honor Award Medals - NASA Exceptional Engineering Achievement Medal (2001), and NASA Exceptional Technology Achievement (2006), the JPL’s Magellan Award (2016) for extraordinary work in advancing the field of electroactive materials and mechanisms, two SPIE’s Lifetime Achievement Awards – NDE (2001) and Smart Materials and Structures (2005), the ASNT’s 2002 Lester Honor Lecture Award, the 2006 ASNT Sustained Excellence award, the 2007 SPIE President’s Award as well as many other honors and awards. Dr. Bar-Cohen is listed on 34 Who’s Who Biographic Directories and his brief bio is listed on Wikipedia with links to his websites at JPL.  Also, the Nov. 2001 issue of Tech Briefs featured him as a Who’s Who in NASA.  His research and accomplishments with his teams received extensive media coverage including interviews with radio and TV stations, NASA Press Releases, JPL's Universe, as well as articles in daily newspapers, magazines, and technically related websites. 

His prior affiliations include: Principal Specialist, McDonnell Douglas Corp., Long Beach, CA (1983-1991); Sr. Physicist, Systems Research Lab (SRL), Dayton, Ohio, at the Air Force Materials Lab. (AFML) (1980-1983); Post-doctorate, National Research Council (NRC) at AFML (1979-1980); and Sr. NDE Specialist, Israel Aircraft Industry (IAI) (1971-1979). 

Currently, he is responsible for developing ultrasonic drills and planetary samplers, sample containerization method using inductively heated brazing (for simultaneously performing separation, seaming, sealing, and sterilization of double-wall containers); electroactive mechanisms, ultrasonic NDE and health monitoring methods, as well as high power ultrasonic techniques.  The containerization method addresses the critical need for the extremely strict planetary protection requirements of the Mars Sample Return (MSR) mission to prevent contamination of Earth.  His professional expansion into the field of electroactive technologies started from his initiated collaboration with MIT to apply his elastic plate wave related expertise to jointly develop piezoelectric motors under a NASA Telerobotic task.  He followed his success with numerous initiatives and tasks leadership funded by JPL, NASA, and reimbursable sources including: AFOSR, AGA, Army, Boston Scientific, Consolidated Edison, DARPA, the Federal Highway Administration, NIH, Placidus and Teleflex.

He made significant contributions to NDE of composites and bonded solids as well as aging aircraft structures.  He initiated and led the development of real time monitoring of composites curing, broadband transducers, and a device for nondestructive determination of elastic properties of composites. Using the expertise that he established in electroactive technologies, he pursued innovation and R&D in biomimetics and robotics, including the Multifunctional Automated Crawling System (MACS), and an on-command exoskeleton.  The crawler MACS was designed to serve as a robotic platform for PC-board base instruments.  As a follow-on effort, he edited and co-authored an ASNT book on the subject of robotics for NDE (published by ASNT in 2000).  Since 1995, he has actively pioneered technology for applications in the field of medicine, which has recently become a strategic emphasis of the JPL’s Executive Council. He initiated and led developments of novel devices for noninvasive diagnostics and treatment using piezo-sensors and actuators resulting in many NTRs and registered patents.

Dr. Bar-Cohen played a key role in establishing the field of Electroactive Polymers (EAP), edited the defining book, and he defined the sub-disciplines of ionic and field or electronic driven.  For many years, he has been leading instructor of annual SPIE course on EAP.  In an effort to promote rapid advances in the development of EAP, his initiatives and proactive efforts led to the SPIE’s EAPAD annual conference (which he has been chairing since 1999), as well as has been publishing the semi-annual WW-EAP Newsletter, and maintaining the WW-EAP Webhub.  In 1999, Dr. Bar-Cohen posed a challenge to the worldwide research and engineering community to develop a robotic arm that is actuated by EAP (also known as artificial muscles) to win an arm-wrestling match against a human opponent. He held the first wrestling match between EAP actuated arms and human on March 7, 2005 as part of the SPIE Annual International EAPAD Conference.  Three arms wrestled with a high school female student and she won against all of them.  This loss of the EAP actuated arms highlighted the complexity and significance of the challenge that he posed and it attracted enormous professional and public attention to the field.  The graphic representation, which he created to illustrate the arm-wrestling challenge, has become the icon of the field of EAP in technical presentations worldwide.

For his contributions to the field of EAP, Business Week named him, under the category Gurus of Technology, as one of “Five People Pushing Tech's Boundaries” and “The Brain behind Plastic Muscle”; Popular Science (mirrored by CNN) named him the “Artificial Muscle Man”; SPIE’s OE magazine described him as “redefining robotics” and Scientific American described him as the “unofficial coordinator” of the field of EAP.

His teaching and mentoring activity includes his serving an Adjunct Full Professor at the Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Dept., UCLA (1989 – 1993).  At JPL, he served as a mentor of over 60 students and 9 postdocs, where four of postdocs he hired as full-time JPL employees.  In addition, he taught many EAP courses during the annual SPIE Smart Structures symposia and other forums.  Dr. Bar-Cohen has established and is maintaining a large international network of peers (over 2,600 worldwide) from the academic, NASA and industry to whom he has been disseminating his Edited Newsletters. These Newsletters consist of scientists and engineers’ inputs from NASA, DoD, academia, and industry.  His first Newsletter series were about NDE NASA-wide (13 issues), then about Materials and Processes NASA-wide (2 issues), and his latest are about EAP and Biomimetics worldwide (since the start in 1999, he published 39 issues).


Publication record: He (co)edited/(co)authored 10 books, (co)authored over 446 publications of which 68 in refereed professional journal and 89 book chapters, served as an Editor of 28 conference proceedings, made hundreds of presentations (including 42 Plenary, Keynote and Invited papers) at national and international conferences, and he is the Biomimetics Book Series Editor for CRC Press; and Smart Materials, Structures and Systems Book Series Editor for Artech House.  He is a member of the Editorial Board of 4 other journals (of robotics and biomimetics).  He served as a Guest Editor for 4 special issues of professional journals (on topics related to EAP, Smart Materials, and Biomimetics). He has (co)Chaired 51 national and international Conferences/Symposia, served as Symposia Track Coordinator of 7 Conferences, and co-Chaired 44 Symposia Sessions.  Moreover, he has made over 59 colloquia presentations at academic institutes and lectures at local societies’ monthly chapter meetings.  He gave two lectures (on Feb. 21 and 22, 2002 and Feb. 18 and 19, 2010) at the JPL’s Theodore von Kármán Lecture Series, which are held at von Karman, JPL, and Pasadena City College (PCC). Moreover, he is a member of the

·         Editorial Board of the “Bioinspiration & Biomimetics: learning from nature” Journal, The Institute of Physics, England (Since Sept. 2005), currently till Feb. 28, 2020.

·         Editorial Board of the Journal of Bionic Engineering (JBE) since December 2009.

·         Editorial board of the Advances in Materials Research Journal since May 2011.

·         Associate Editor of the International Journal of Smart and Nano Materials, Taylor & Francis Group, Since May 24, 2011


According to the Google Scholar (checked on Sept. 5, 2018), his publications have a high number of citations (13313); a Hirsch's Index of 47; and i10-index of 197.


Innovation record: His innovation is documented in 36 registered patents, 2 submitted patent disclosure, 5 Provisional Patents, 123 New Technology Reports (NTR), 73 Class 1 NASA Tech Brief Awards, 92 Tech Briefs publications, and 14 NASA Board (Space Act) Awards. 


Book Series Editor

1.      Biomimetics Book Series Editor for CRC Press/ Taylor & Francis Group 

a.       Y. Bar-Cohen (Book Editor and author of 5 chapters out of 20), Biomimetics: Nature-Based Innovation, ISBN: 9781439834763, ISBN 10: 1439834768, CRC Press, Taylor & Francis Group, Boca Raton, Florida (Sept. 2011), pp. 1-788.

b.      I. Mazzoleni, “Architecture Follows Nature-Biomimetic Principles for Innovative Design”, ISBN 9781466506077 (March 21, 2013), 264 Pages

c.       I. A. Anderson, J. Vincent, J. Montgomery, “Ocean Innovation: Biomimetics Beneath the Waves”, ISBN 9781439837627 (June 1, 2016), 202 pages


2.   Smart Materials, Structures and Systems Book Series Editor for Artech House:

a.       N. White and S. Beeby, “Energy Harvesting for Autonomous Systems”, ISBN-10: 1596937181; ISBN-13: 978-1596937185; Artech House, (June 30, 2010), 292 pages



Ph. D. (1979), Physics; (1975-1979), The Hebrew University, Jerusalem, Israel

M. Sc. (1973), Materials Science; (1971-1973), The Hebrew University, Jerusalem, Israel

B. Sc. (1971), Physics; (1967-1971), The Hebrew University, Jerusalem, Israel


Affiliation History

1991‑Present   Senior Research Scientist & Group Supervisor*, Electroactive Technologies, 355N, NDEAA Lab, JPL, Pasadena, CA.

1983‑1991       Principal Specialist, McDonnell Douglas Corp., Long Beach, CA. 

1980‑1983       Sr. Physicist, Systems Research Lab, Dayton, Ohio, at the Air Force Materials Lab.

1979-1980       Post-doctorate, National Research Council (NRC) award, at the Air Force Materials Lab.

1971‑1979       Sr. NDE Specialist, Israel Aircraft Industry (IAI).


* On July 14, 2014 – the Section 355 was reorganized and 355N was name Electroactive Technologies instead of Advanced Technologies.


*JPL Promotions history

Group Supervisor, Electroactive Technologies, 355N –July 14, 2014 - Present

Group Supervisor, Advanced Technologies, 355N – April 4, 2005 - July 13, 2014

Acting Group Supervisor, Advanced Technologies, 355N – January 12, 2005– April 4, 2005

Section Staff – April 2003 to Dec. 2004

JPL Senior Research Scientist – Since June 18, 2001



Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Dept., UCLA, Los Angeles, CA.

1989-1990    Adjunct lecturer

1990-1993    Adjunct full professor


Honors and Awards

·      JPL’s Magellan Award - for extraordinary work in advancing the field of electroactive materials and mechanisms. May 16, 2016

·      Fellow of The International Society for Optical Engineering (SPIE), 2 July 2002

·      Fellow of the American Society for Nondestructive Testing (ASNT), 16 October 1996

·      NASA Honor Award Medal for Exceptional Technology Achievement, June 7, 2006

·      NASA Honor Award Medal for Exceptional Engineering Achievement, Aug. 2001

·      SPIE's Smart Materials and Structures Lifetime Achievement Award - March 7, 2005

·      SPIE’s NDE Lifetime Achievement Award, March 6, 2001

·      SPIE President’s Award, Aug. 29, 2007

·      ASNT’s Award for Sustained Excellence, March 15, 2006

·      ASNT’s Lester Honor Lecture Award for Major contributions to the field of NDT, Nov. 2002

·      JPL Senior Research Scientist, June 18, 2001

·      73 NASA Class 1 Technical Brief Awards, between 1992-present

·      14 NASA Board (Space Act) Awards (5 awards in 2002, 2 in 2003, 2 in 2006, 1 in 2008, 1 in 2010, 2 in 2012, 1 in 2013)

·      JPL’s Level-A Bonus Award for achievements in the field of EAP, Nov. 1999

·      JPL’s Nova Award for Technical Innovation and Leadership, March 1998

·      JPL’s Nova Award for Outstanding Achievement in Technology and R&D, May 1996

·      National Research Council (NRC) Fellowship Award, June 1979


Team Awards

·      2018 NASA Honor Group Achievement Award: Sample Return Break the Chain of Contact, August 28, 2018.

·      2017 NASA Honor Group Achievement Award: Pioneering a Streamlined Approach to Delivering Mechanical Systems, Sept. 2017.

·      Team Award for the development of the brazing method for breaking the chain of contact with Mars, Sept. 8, 2017.

·      JPL Team Award for the novel piezoelectric actuated drill that rapidly penetrates calcified plaques (occlusion) in human arteries, Sept. 23, 2016

·      JPL’s Team Bonus Award for leading the highly successful AGA’s Quiet Concrete Drill task, July 2005

·      Co-received the Industrial Robot Highly Commended Award for the paper entitled "Lemur IIb: A Robotic System for Steep Terrain Access," that was presented at the 8th International Conference on Climbing and Walking Robots (CLAWAR 2005), held in London, UK on Sept. 12 - 15, 2005.

·      Self-initiated and co-developed USDC (Ultrasonic Drill) received the 2000 R&D Magazine Award as one of the 100 most innovative instruments.



American Society for Nondestructive Testing (ASNT), since 1979

The International Society for Optical Engineering (SPIE), since 1998 (March 9)


Committees and Subcommittees Membership


Ultrasonics Committee (Served as the Chair from 1995 to 2001)



Nov. 16, 2009 – Sept. 25, 2011          Chair of the Senior Research Scientists (SRS) Council

Jan. 1, 2009 – Sept. 25, 2011  Member of the Senior Research Scientists (SRS) Council



Who’s Who Biographic Directories

1.      American Men and Woman of Science, 1991

2.      Who’s Who in America, 1991 and 2018

3.      Who’s Who in the West, 1992

4.      Who’s Who Worldwide Business Registry, 1994

5.      International Who’s Who of Professionals, 1996

6.      Dictionary of International Biography, 1999, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2015

7.      Lexington Who's Who, 1999

8.      International Man of the Year for 1999/2000

9.      Outstanding Scientists of the 20th Century, 2000 and 2004

10.  Who's Who in Polymers and Plastics, Technomics Publishing Company, 2000

11.  Leaders of Science, Technology and Engineering, 2000

12.  Outstanding People of the 21st Century, 2001, 2002, 2004

13.  International Biography Center’s 21st Century Award for Achievement, April 2001

14.  International Directory of Distinguished Leadership, 10th & 11th edition, Amer. Biographical Inst. (ABI), April 2001, May 2002, and June 2003.

15.  Who’s Who in the 21st Century, First Edition, April 2001

16.  Biography Today, New Delhi, India, page 509, Vol. II, 2001

17.  National Aviation and Space Exploration Wall of Honor in the new National Air and Space Museum Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center – Sept. 7, 2001

18.  International Directory of Distinguished Leadership, 2002

19.  NASA Tech Briefs - Who’s Who in NASA, Nov. 2001, page 22

20.  Outstanding Scientists of the 21st Century, IBC, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2008

21.  Asia – Men and Woman of Achievement – Reguerdon Sdn. Bhd., August 2002, October 2003,

22.  Asia/Pacific Who’s Who – April 2004, Oct. 2004, July 2005 (Vol. VI), April 2007 (Vol. VII), Dec. 2008 (Vol. IX)

23.  Asian/American Who’s Who, Oct. 2004, April 2008 (Vol. V)

24.  Asian Admirable Achievers, Vol. I, page 43, 2007.

25.  Eminent Scientists of Today – 1st Edition, Oct. 2002

26.  Great Minds of the 21st Century, Nov. 2002, Nov. 2003, Dec. 2006

27.  Empowering Executives & Professional – United Who’s Who, Jan. 2005

28.  Distinguished and Admirable Achievers, July 2005

29.  Biography Today (Vol. III), Rifacimento International, 2005

30.  Who’s Who in American Education, 2006-2007

31.  Dictionary of International Biography, IBC, The Cambridge Blue Book, 32nd, 33rd and 34th (Sept 2007). 35th (2009), 36th (2011)

32.  Expert Elite Frontispiece of the International Directory of Experts and Expertise, July 2007

33.  500 Greats Geniuses of the 21th Century, American Biographical Institute, 2008, 2009

34.  Strathmore's Who's Who, 2009/2010 edition



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