John Ochsendorf – The Accidental Professor
Elkins-native John Ochsendorf, 36, is a professor of structural engineering and architecture at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, Massachusetts. At 26 – eight years after he graduated from Elkins High School – he became one of the youngest professors ever appointed at the world’s top technical university.
Ochsendorf has uniquely combined his interests in engineering, archeology and architectural history to become the world’s leading authority on ancient building structures – masonry arches, domes and vaulted ceilings in Gothic cathedrals and rope suspension bridges in the former Inca Empire. Using some of these ancient building principles he has helped design a number of award-winning energy-efficient structures using local materials, including a museum in South Africa, which was named the “World Building of the Year” in 2009.
John Ochsendorf is a 2008 MacArthur “Genius Grant” Fellow and a regular speaker at the National Youth Science Camp in Pocahontas County.