Alan Needleman finished his Ph.D. at Harvard University in 1970. He then spent five years in Applied Mathematics at MIT before moving to Brown University where he served as Dean of the Engineering from 1988 to 1991, and became Florence Pirce Grant University Professor in 1996. He retired from Brown in 2009 and moved to the Materials Science and Engineering Department at the University of North Texas. He joined the Texas A&M University faculty in 2015, where he is a University Distinguished Professor and a TEES Eminent Research Professor in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering. He was awarded the Timoshenko Medal of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME), is a Member of the US National Academy of Engineering and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and is an Honorary Member of ASME. He also holds honorary doctorates from the Technical University of Denmark and Ecole Normale Superior de Cachan (France), and is an Honorary Professor of Dalian University of Technology (China).