MIT Reports to the President 1999–2000


The Department of Materials Science and Engineering (DMSE) continues its intellectual and educational leadership, capturing the top position in the US News and World Report ranking of materials science departments nation-wide for the eleventh consecutive year. Five new, young faculty members have recently joined the ranks of the Department and a brief description of their backgrounds and fields of expertise can be found in the following pages. Department faculty and students continue to be honored with prestigious awards and medals from various professional societies and international organizations.

The department has undergone a smooth change of leadership, with Professor Suresh succeeding Professor Eagar as Department Head. Professor Eagar, who stepped down effective January 15, 2000 after five years as Department Head, will return to full-time teaching and research after a well-deserved sabbatical leave. Professor Allen was appointed Executive Officer effective April 2000 with primary responsibilities for educational programs and space.

The new department administration has implemented a number of major initiatives in the past six months. With enthusiastic support from DMSE faculty and the Institute, a one-year program oriented toward careers in industry and leading to a Master of Engineering (M.Eng.) degree in Materials Science and Engineering has been finalized. The first M.Eng. students will begin their classes in June 2001. A Ph.D. degree program in Biomaterials has been introduced in DMSE beginning Fall 2000, with an inaugural enrollment of three graduate students. Plans are underway for a new Nanomechanical Technology Laboratory; pledges of external donations total well over one million dollars. Major plans have been initiated for the establishment of a new graduate student lounge and new laboratories for research into Biomaterials and Computational Materials Science. The Department has also launched a campaign to raise funds for an endowed professorship to be named after Professor Merton C. Flemings. This was announced during the Symposium held at MIT in his honor in June 2000. The 2000—2001 academic year is marked by a large graduate student enrollment in DMSE, with an incoming class of 60 new graduate students, a sharp increase over last year’s incoming class of 29.

Faculty Members from the Department continue to lead major Institute initiatives. The Singapore-MIT Alliance (SMA), co-directed by Professor Flemings, is developing new paradigms in global education and research interactions between MIT and the two Universities in Singapore. The Cambridge-MIT Institute (CMI), a global alliance with Cambridge University, is directed at MIT by Professor John B. Vander Sande. Professor Lionel C. Kimerling directs the Microphotonics Center, created with funding from Nanovation, Inc., to foster cutting-edge research in the area of microphotonics.

We were deeply saddened that former DMSE Professor David Kingery passed away this past June at his home in Wickford, Rhode Island. Professor Kingery, who is widely regarded as the "father of modern ceramics," was a faculty member in the department from 1951 to 1988. He contributed enormously to the intellectual strength and growth of the department.


Our undergraduate enrollment remains steady at about 110 students and currently comprises 65% women, 8% underrepresented minorities, and 4% international students. Recruiting efforts to maintain our undergraduate student body are extensive, including participation in Academic Expo during Freshman Orientation, an Open House, the annual John Wulff Lecture, direct mailings to the freshman class, Freshman Advisor Seminars, and IAP Activities. Our III—B Internship Program continues to attract the majority of DMSE undergraduates. Through this program we have strengthened our interactions with companies and government laboratories in the US, Europe, and Asia while providing summer experiences relevant to the educational development of our undergraduates. Forty-seven DMSE students were placed at 27 host institutions during the Summer of 2000.

The Department’s undergraduate program added two new restricted electives in biomaterials: Professor Anne Mayes’ 3.051J, Materials for Biomedical Applications, and Professor Christine Ortiz’s 3.052, Nanomechanics of Materials and Biomaterials, expanding the specialty subjects offered to our undergraduates.

Professor Lorna Gibson continues to chair the Undergraduate Study Abroad Committee and coordinate the activities of the Materials Undergraduate Study Exchange Program (MUSE). During academic year 1999—2000 the department had an active exchange of undergraduate students with Oxford University.


The Department has a very healthy graduate student enrollment, currently 157. Approximately 26% of our graduate students are women and 2% are underrepresented minorities. As of February 2000, the distribution of students among our graduate degree programs was:

Degree Program Percent Total Graduate Students

Ceramics 12.7%

Electronic Materials 28.7%

Materials Engineering 17.2%

Materials Science 15.9%

Metallurgy 8.3%

Polymers 17.2%

Two of our students were enrolled in the Technology and Policy Program (TPP) and eight were enrolled in the Leaders for Manufacturing Program (LFM). Seventeen of our Polymers students were enrolled in the Program for Polymer Science and Technology (PPST).

We continue to offer one-term and two-term fellowships to an increasing percentage of our domestic applicants. Nearly all undesignated gifts to the department fund endowed fellowships (including the Nicholas J. Grant Fellowship, the John F. Elliott Fellowship, the Ronald A. Kurtz Fellowship, the Gilbert Y. Chin Fellowship, the R. L. Coble Fellowship, the Carl M. Loeb Fellowship, the David V. Ragone Fellowship, the H. F. Taylor Fellowship, the H. H. Uhlig Graduate Fellowship, the Stuart Z. Uram Fellowship, the Class of ’39 Fellowship, the Julian Szekely Fellowship, the Wenckus Fellowship, and the Department Endowed Fellowship). These fellowships provided one-term support for ten students in Fall 1999.

In addition to the above, we are the grateful recipients of a number of grants from corporations to aid our first year students. Our corporate supporters include TECHINT, SIDOR, Intel, and IBM. Many of our students have other outside fellowship support as well. Of the 35 domestic students expected to enter in the Fall of 2000 (over 58% of our incoming class), 22 will be supported by fellowships from the department, MIT, NSF, NDSEG, and U.S. Navy.

DMSE finalized a curriculum and obtained approval for a new Master of Engineering Degree in Materials. The program aims to create leaders in fast-growing materials engineering technology areas by laying a strong, graduate-level foundation in the fundamentals of the field. This foundation is followed by subjects that build expertise in particular areas of materials engineering. The program’s capstone experience is student participation in engineering projects and technology assessment under the supervision of departmental faculty. Technology assessment and commercialization projects will be carried out at MIT, and some projects may be carried out at industrial sites. Applicants will be recruited in the coming academic year, and the first registrants in the program will begin studies in June 2001.

A new Ph.D. degree program in Biomaterials has been introduced in DMSE beginning Fall Semester 2000, with an inaugural enrollment of three graduate students. The program was initiated to address the growing student interest in a biomaterials-oriented graduate curriculum and the rising need for Ph.D.-level scientists and engineers who can apply the structure-property-processing paradigm to materials used in biomedical and biotechnological applications. The degree program subject requirements will include the DMSE core graduate curriculum plus two subjects chosen from the restricted electives: 3.96J, Biomaterials-Tissue Interactions; BEH.410J, Molecular, Cellular and Tissue Biomechanics; and new subject BEH.442, Molecular Structure of Biological Materials. Additional new subject offerings are anticipated within two years.


The current officers of the Society of Undergraduate Materials Students (SUMS) are Melissa Light, President; Elissa Schwartzfarb, Vice President; Joseph Louis, Treasurer; Elizabeth Maxwell, Secretary.

The Graduate Materials Council (GMC) officers for 2000—2001 are Krystyn Van Vliet, President; Ashley Predith, Vice President; Rob Bernstein, Treasurer; Todd Stefanik and Eric Wu, Athletic Chairs; Joanie Kertz and Marc Richard, Social Chairs; Doug Cannon and Mindy Tupper, DCGS Representatives; and Ryan Kershner, GSC Representative. The representatives to the degree panels are Michael Read (Biomaterials), Rebecca Scheidt (Ceramics), Ramkumar Krishnan (Electronic Materials), Ryan Kershner (Materials Engineering), Catherine Bishop (Materials Science), James Yurko (Metallurgy), Hartmut Rudmann (Polymers).

The Association for Materials Science Students (AMaSS) is an umbrella organization that fosters the growth of the various student chapters of materials science and engineering professional societies. Members of the Executive Committee are Andrew Gouldstone and Michael Shin, and Professor Sam Allen is the faculty advisor. Under AMaSS, several student chapters now maintain an active membership and a full calendar of events. The MIT joint student chapter of TMS/ASM is chaired by Krystyn Van Vliet and advised by Professor Ronald Latanision. The MIT student chapter of the Society for Biomaterials (SBM) is chaired by Toby Freyman, and is advised by Professor Ioannis Yannas and Dr. Myron Spector. The MIT student chapter of the Foundry Education Foundation (FEF) is chaired by James Yurko and advised by Professor Sam Allen. The MIT student chapter of the Materials Research Society (MRS) is chaired by Kevin Chen and advised by Professors Linn Hobbs and Mildred Dresselhaus. The MIT student chapter of the American Ceramic Society (ACerS) is chaired by Gary Maskaly and advised by Professor Yet-Ming Chiang.


Research in Professor Allen’s group is working to improve understanding of structure-property-processing relations in metal parts fabricated by three-dimensional printing, and in ferromagnetic shape-memory alloy actuators. Professor Carter and his students develop a wide range of computational approaches to understand fundamental aspects of microstructure development and their effects on materials properties in diverse materials that range from bone to solder. Professor Ceder’s group has developed a methodology for calculating diffusivities in multi-component oxides with non-dilute diffusion and coupled it with continuum simulations for the transport and elastic deformation of macroscopic oxide particles. Professor Chiang and his students developed new bismuth perovskite single-crystal piezoelectrics with a broad range of actuation characteristics as potential replacements for current lead-based piezoelectric ceramics. Professor Cima’s work focuses on the processing and fabrication of complex ceramic and electronic components via 3-Dimensional Printing and microfabrication/micromolding, biomedical applications and controlled-release drug delivery (3D Printing of drug tablets and biomedical devices, microchip delivery of pharmaceuticals, etc.), and thin-film superconductors. Professor Clark coordinated a reorganization of the International Motor Vehicle Program.

In Professor Eagar’s group, a new method of scaling order-of-magnitude solutions of complex combinations of

differential equations has been developed and demonstrated on a number of wide-ranging engineering problems involving heat and fluid flow. Professor Fitzgerald’s group has made advances in transparent substrate visible LEDs, strained-Si MOSFETs, relaxed SiGe on SiO2/Si, and Si-based optical interconnects. Materials science advances, specifically advances in defect control and interface control, have created these device-quality platforms for new microelectronics and optoelectronics. Professor Flemings continues research on semi-solid forming, with emphasis on seeking innovative ways to reduce cost and improve quality. Professor Gibson and her students are currently working on three research projects: on ultralight metal structures, on trabecular bone, and on cell-matrix interactions in porous scaffolds used in tissue engineering. Professor Hobbs’ work on orthopedic joint prosthesis materials has provided ultrastructural information about the sequence of bone mineralization and apposition to ceramic coatings through in vivo and in vitro model studies and, through an additional industrial collaboration, about the development of oxide coating microstructures in oxidized zirconium knee prostheses. Professor Hosler continues her work on rubber processing technology and on the development of metallurgy in ancient Mesoamerica. Professor Latanision’s group has developed a new approach for the quantification of underfilm corrosion of ferromagnetic materials that allows unambiguous corrosion rate determination beneath a polymer coating. Professor Lechtman continues a long-term research program on the development of bronze alloys in the Andean culture area in prehistory, including publication of a detailed article on the successful co-smelting of oxide and sulfarsenide ores of copper to produce arsenic-bronze ingots.

Professor Mayes’ group has developed a strategy in which small fractions of amphiphilic comb polymer are added to the membrane casting solution in order to impart enhanced fouling resistance to poly(vinylidene fluoride) ultrafiltration membranes. Professor McGarry’s group can now produce rigid silicone resins as tough as toughened epoxy resins. Dr. O’Handley and his students have completed a new system for measuring the magnetoelastic coupling coefficient in magnetic thin films on substrates, the results of which represent a major advance in the understanding and control of magnetic properties of materials. Professor Ortiz has completed setting up a state-of-the-art Polymer Mechanics Laboratory which has capabilities for mechanical testing of polymers at length scales ranging from individual macromolecules (nanomechanics), to thin films (micromechanics), to bulk materials (macromechanics).

Current research in Professor Powell’s group includes cathode design for electrolysis with liquid electrolyte and product, and liquid free-surface shapes in materials processing. Professor Rose studied phase transitions in water and continues his efforts on humanitarian demining research. Professor Ross’ group has obtained new understanding of nanopatterned magnetic arrays, and of magnetic anisotropy in thin films for hard disks. Professor Roylance’s research has centered on process-structure-property investigations of polymers and composite materials, dealing especially with mechanical properties.

Professor Rubner and his group continue development of a new class of solid-state red light emitters based on the Ru(II) complex and currently are achieving brightness levels five times that of a computer screen at voltages as low as 3 volts. Professor Russell is studying materials systems that are self-organizing under irradiation. In collaboration with several other DMSE faculty members, Professor Sadoway’s group has continued to make advances in solid-state rechargeable lithium polymer batteries. Professor Scott’s group is making rapid progress in understanding the phase inversion mechanism during compounding of immiscible polymer blends. Since joining the Department in August, Professor Smith has completely renovated and installed equipment in his lab, including a scanning probe microscope (SPM), a controlled atmosphere glove box for the SPM, various tube and muffle furnaces, and vacuum facilities needed for the growth of transition metal oxide single crystals. Professor Suresh’s group has developed a variety of new theoretical and experimental methods for the analysis and measurement of mechanical and coupled properties of small-volume structures, thin films and active materials; several patents filed based on these discoveries are currently being pursued by industry for a variety of practical applications.

Professor Thomas’ photonics effort with Dr. Yoel Fink on the "Omniguide" was mentioned as a "Breakthrough Runner Up for 1999" by Science magazine. Professor Thompson and his students developed and experimentally validated a complete set of models for process-sensitive and layout-dependent circuit-level interconnect reliability assessments. Dr. Trapaga studied viscosity and surface tension measurement in microgravity, and the mathematical modeling of electromagnetic levitation systems. Professor Tuller’s group has been exploring lead perovskite systems as potential candidates for high strain actuators with large thermal stability and low hysteresis. Professor Vander Sande, in a collaboration with Professor Howard in the Department of Chemical Engineering, has been synthesizing fullerenes and fullerenic nanostructures in flames, using a process which allows them to develop an understanding of the nucleation, growth and transformation that occur amongst fullerenic species. Dr. Wada studies photorefractive crystals and photonic crystal integration for optical neural network. Professor Witt’s group conducted solidification experiments involving BSO, under reduced gravity conditions, on board NASA’s KC-135 facility; the results are to be used to optimize the design of a crystal growth research facility for the International Space Station. Professor Wuensch’s group has determined the atomistic nature of chemically-driven disorder processes using neutron diffraction.


W. Craig Carter, Thomas Lord Associate Professor of Materials Science and Engineering, and colleagues from National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) were honored by Industry Week magazine with a 1999 "Technology of the Year" award for "Object-Oriented Finite Elements" (OOF), a public domain computer software. Using OOF, researchers can scan a micrograph and then use OOF’s intuitive graphical interface to select specific subregions of the micrograph. Based on the geometry of these subregions, OOF allows users to develop a comprehensive analysis and prediction of how the material will respond to heat, stress, and other forces.

Professor Yet-Ming Chiang, Kyocera Professor of Ceramics, received the Richard M. Fulrath Award at the American Ceramic Society Meeting this April. The Fulrath Award recognizes outstanding academic and industrial ceramic engineers/scientists who are 45 years of age or younger. The award is also a symbol for the "Bridge Across the Pacific" program, through which U.S. recipients of the Fulrath Award spend part of a year in Japan. Professor Chiang was also awarded the New England Section of the American Ceramic Society’s "F.H. Norton Award," in December 1999. This honor is named for Professor F.H. Norton, MIT Faculty 1927—61, who started the "Division of Ceramics" within what was then known as the Department of Metallurgy.

Yoel Fink, then a DMSE graduate student and now a new faculty member, was included in the November 1999 Technology Review list of 100 Top Young Innovators "who exemplify the spirit of innovation in science, technology, and the arts." He was singled out for his involvement in inventing a "perfect mirror" capable of reflecting light at any angle with virtually no loss of energy.

Professor Merton C. Flemings received the prestigious Tawara Gold Medal at a special ceremony organized by the Iron and Steel Institute of Japan in late March. This award is given to the researcher or engineer who has greatly contributed to the development of the iron and steel industry and technological research and development in the world. It is awarded once every five years to two individuals. Professor Flemings also received the National Materials Advancement Award of the Federation of Materials Societies. The Award recognizes individuals who have demonstrated outstanding capabilities in advancing the effective and economic use of materials and the multi-disciplinary field of materials science and engineering generally, and who contribute to the application of the materials profession to national problems and policy.

During The Minerals, Metals and Materials Society (TMS) Annual Meeting in Nashville this past March, Professor Lionel C. Kimerling was formally presented with The Minerals, Metals and Materials Society Fellow award. Kimerling was elected "for his outstanding basic and applied research on defects in semiconductors, and for his professional and academic leadership in the field of electronic materials." Kimerling is the Director of MIT’s Materials Processing Center, and the President of TMS Foundation which was established in 1993 "to develop and fund programs that will fully prepare future generations of professionals for leadership roles in the international minerals, metals, and materials community." He is also the Chairman of the Editorial Board of the Journal of Electronic Materials.

Dr. Harold Larson, DMSE Research Associate, has been honored by TMS for his co-authorship of the paper, "A Pilot-Scale Trial of an Improved Galvanic Deoxidation Process for Refining Molten Copper." Larson and co-authors P. Soral, U. Pal, and B. Schroeder received TMS’s "2000 Extraction and Processing Technology Award."

At the annual Harvard-Smithsonian Meteorite Discussion Group Meeting and May Wine Festival, it was announced that Robert E. Ogilvie, Professor Emeritus, has a new namesake–minor planet 3973 is now named "Ogilvie." The citation reads, "Professor of Metallurgy at MIT and a researcher at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, Robert E. Ogilvie (b. 1923) is known for his work in crystallography. Using homegrown woodruff, he also produces the essential ingredient for the annual May Wine Festival of the Harvard—Smithsonian Meteorite Discussion Group."

Dr. Robert C. O’Handley’s Modern Magnetic Materials: Principles and Applications was published early in 2000 by John Wiley and Sons.

Professor Subra Suresh was elected TMS Fellow "for pioneering contributions to the understanding of mechanical behavior and mechanics of materials, and for leadership in materials education." Professor Suresh was also named the Clark B. Millikan Endowed Chair at California Institute of Technology in 1999—2000. Professor Suresh is the Coordinating and Principal Editor of the International Journal, Acta Materialia.


Faculty members of this department include these chairholders: Samuel M. Allen, POSCO Professor of Physical Metallurgy; W. Craig Carter, Thomas Lord Associate Professor of Materials Science and Engineering; Gerbrand Ceder, Union Minière Associate Professor of Materials Science and Engineering; Yet-Ming Chiang, Kyocera Professor of Ceramics; Michael J. Cima, Sumitomo Electric Industries Professor of Engineering; Merton C. Flemings, Toyota Professor of Materials Processing; Lorna Gibson, Matoula S. Salapatas Professor of Materials Science and Engineering; Lionel C. Kimerling, Thomas Lord Professor of Materials Science and Engineering; Christine Ortiz, John Chipman Career Development Assistant Professor; Adam C. Powell IV, Thomas B. King Assistant Professor of Materials Engineering; Caroline A. Ross, Lord Foundation of Massachusetts Assistant Professor of Materials Science and Engineering; Michael F. Rubner, TDK Professor of Materials Science and Engineering; Donald R. Sadoway, John F. Elliott Professor of Materials Chemistry; Richard L. Smith, AMAX Career Development Assistant Professor; Subra Suresh, R. P. Simmons Professor of Materials Science and Engineering; Edwin L. Thomas, Morris Cohen Professor of Materials Science and Engineering; Carl V. Thompson, Stavros Salapatas Professor of Materials Science and Engineering; John B. Vander Sande, Cecil and Ida Green Distinguished Professor; and August F. Witt, Ford Professor of Engineering.

Promotions were granted to five DMSE faculty members, effective July 1, 2000. Advancing from the rank of Associate to Full Professor are Professors Gerbrand Ceder, Eugene A. Fitzgerald, and Dorothy Hosler. Promotions from the rank of Assistant to Associate Professor were granted to Professors Caroline Ross and Chris Scott.

DMSE welcomed three new Assistant Professors to the faculty in Fall 1999. Christine Ortiz, was appointed John Chipman Assistant Professor. Ortiz completed her B.S. in M.S. and E. at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (1992), and both her Masters and Ph.D. at Cornell University (1997) with a doctoral dissertation entitled "Mechanical Properties of Liquid Crystalline Networks Based on Diglycidyl Ether of 4,4’ —Dihydroxy-alpha-Methylstilbene+," supervised by Professors Edward J. Kramer, University of California at Santa Barbara and Christopher K. Ober, Cornell University. From August 1997 until joining the MIT faculty, she was a postdoctoral research associate with Professor G. Hadziioannou at the University of Groningen in The Netherlands. There she developed a research proposal to the National Science Foundation to study the nanomechanical behavior of polymer chains using the atomic force microscope. This involved cutting edge experiments designed to develop the thermodynamic properties of individual polymer molecules.

Adam C. Powell IV joined DMSE as the Thomas B. King Assistant Professor. Powell received both a dual S.B. in Materials Science and Engineering and Economics (1992) and a Ph.D. (1997) from MIT. Professor Powell’s doctoral dissertation, "Transport Phenomena in Electron Beam Melting and Evaporation," involved pilot plant-scale experimentation at Sandia National Laboratories, writing a finite—element solver for coupled fluid flow and heat transfer with melting front, and more specifically, packaging the model for industrial application, under the supervision of Professors Julian Szekely and Uday Pal. Following the receipt of his Ph.D. and up until joining the MIT faculty in August, he was a post-doctoral fellow at the National Institute of Standards and Technology. At NIST, Professor Powell was actively involved in the mathematical models of liquid free—surface shape and solidification, with application to soldered fiber—optic interconnect design, a new chip package in which underfill polymer is applied directly to the silicon wafer, and a device to test DNA solution for presence of multiple genes.

Richard L. Smith, appointed to the AMAX Assistant Professorship, earned his B.S. (1994), M.S. (1995) and Ph.D. (1998), from Carnegie Mellon University. His thesis, "The Structural Evolution of the MoO3 (010) Surface during Reduction and Oxidation Reactions," used scanning tunneling microscopy (STM) and atomic force microscopy (AFM) to characterize the atomic scale structure of selected molybdenum and vanadium oxide surfaces, and to study the structural evaluation of the surface during gas phase reduction and oxidation reactions. Professor Smith completed a postdoctoral fellowship at CMU and the Alcoa Technical Center (1998), where he focused on several projects concerned with the synthesis of diaspore (a-AlOOH) and its subsequent transformation to corundum (a-Al2O3).

Two recent MIT graduates, Dr. Yoel Fink and Dr. Darrell J. Irvine, will be joining the DMSE faculty as Assistant Professors in the coming year.


Outstanding Senior Thesis Awards went to Billie Wang of New Canaan, CT ("First Principles Study of the Magnetic Ground State and Thermodynamic Properties of LixMnO2") and Michael Tarkanian of Brockton, MA ("3,500 Years Before Goodyear: Rubber Processing in Ancient Mesoamerica"). Paulina Kuo of Great Falls, VA won the Best 3B Internship Report Award ("Dynamic Tuning of Fiber Gratings with Thin Film Heaters"). Foundry Education Foundation Scholarships for Outstanding Students with an Interest in Metals Casting were presented to juniors Robin Ivester of Charleston, SC, and Nicole Zacharia of Hinsdale, IL. Juniors Melissa Light of Parkland, FL, and Albert Hung of Los Altos, CA, received Awards for Outstanding Service to the DMSE Community. Paulina Kuo was named Outstanding Student in the DMSE Class of 2000. Kuo was also awarded the TMS J. Keith Brimacombe Presidential Scholarship for 2000.

Dr. Raj Vaidyanathan, former DMSE graduate student and current post-doc in Professor Subra Suresh’s lab, was awarded the 17th Louis Rosen Prize for his outstanding Ph.D. thesis from the Los Alamos Neutron Science Center at Los Alamos National Laboratory. The John Wulff Award for Excellence in Teaching went to graduate student Erin Lavik of McLean, VA. Eight DMSE students earned honors at the Third Annual BP Amoco/PPST Poster Competition held at MIT in April 2000. Axel Van de Walle won a Gold Medal Graduate Student Award from the Materials Research Society. New graduate students Lori Kensel, Ellen Siem, Cody Friesen, and Gary Maskaly were appointed Elsevier Distinguished Fellows for this year. This is the first year the department has awarded these Fellowships, funded by Elsevier Publishing. Andrew Kim received a Best Student Presentation Award from the TMS Electronic Materials Committee.


This year, the department has launched a DMSE Distinguished Lecturer Series to bring world leaders in materials science and technology to MIT. This Lecture Series, including six distinguished speakers, is intended to provide students and faculty with broad overviews of newly emerging topics in materials.

As the department sets out in exciting new directions in education and research, modernization of teaching and research laboratories is of the utmost importance. Plans are now underway for the renovation of more than 10,000 square feet of Department office and laboratory space in the main building. These renovation projects will result in state-of-the-art experimental facilities in the areas of biomaterials, nanomechanical technology, thin films, and microphotonics; high-tech distance education classrooms capable of live, two-way interactions between the instructor and the student; a new graduate student lounge; and a new laboratory for computational materials science.


From June 28 to 30, a symposium in honor of Professor Merton C. Flemings was held at MIT. Over one hundred former students and current colleagues from around the world attended. Papers and posters were presented on many aspects of Professor Flemings’ work, including dendritic solidification dynamics, control of casting quality, interdendritic fluid flow, semisolid processing, innovative materials processing, and materials science and engineering education. The Symposium’s highlight was the banquet at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Guests were privileged to hear a recital given by Yo-Yo Ma, the celebrated cellist, and to view the Museum’s extraordinary collection of Asian art.

Dr. W. David Kingery passed away Friday June 30th at his home in Wickford, Rhode Island, at age 73. He was an MIT professor and long-time resident of the Boston area who became known as the "father of modern ceramics" for his role in providing a scientific foundation to the empirical practice used since ancient times to manufacture pottery, chinaware, tile, brick, cement, and glass. He received the S.B. in chemistry (1948) and Sc.D. in ceramics (1950) from MIT, and served on the MIT faculty in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering from 1951–88, where he was the first to hold the Kyocera Professorship. In 1988, he became Regent’s Professor at the University of Arizona, Tucson. In the early 1950’s, Kingery established MIT’s first graduate education and research program in the science and technology of ceramics, and in 1960 wrote the first edition of a seminal textbook Introduction to Ceramics, now in print for 40 years and translated into the world’s major languages. His scientific research led to the development of advanced materials with unique electrical, thermal, mechanical, and chemical properties that are today used in technologies such as automotive oxygen sensors, fuel cells, and a vast range of electronic components. In 1999, he was awarded the Kyoto Prize by The Inamori Foundation of Kyoto, Japan, for systematically integrating the knowledge and practice related to ceramic materials into a scientific discipline. In recent years, Dr. Kingery also analyzed from an archaeological standpoint the earthenware, pottery, and chinaware that are found throughout the world–studying the development and diffusion of ceramic techniques and providing cultural and anthropological interpretations of advanced technology. Amongst his recent books are Japanese/American Technological Innovation (W.D. Kingery, ed., Prentice Hall, Englewood Cliffs, NJ, 1991), History from Things (S. Lubar and W.D. Kingery, eds, The Smithsonian Press, Washington, D.C., 1993), Physical Ceramics (Y.-M. Chiang, D. Birnie III, and W. D. Kingery, John Wiley and Sons, NY, 1996) and Learning from Things (W. D. Kingery, ed., The Smithsonian Press, Washington, D.C., 1996). Dr. Kingery was also an avid sailor who co-organized the Marion-Bermuda Cruising Yacht Race. A memorial service for Professor Kingery will be held in the MIT Chapel on September 15, 2000.

More information about this department can be found on the World Wide Web at

Subra Suresh

MIT Reports to the President 1999–2000