|Symposium Honors Richard Siegel
To celebrate the renowned career and many accomplishments of Professor Richard Siegel, the Department of Materials Science and Engineering hosted the “Siegel Symposium” on Oct. 11-12 in the Center for Biotechnology and Interdisciplinary Studies.
Siegel, the Robert W. Hunt Professor of Materials Science and director of the NSF-funded Nanoscale Science and Engineering Center for Directed Assembly of Nanostructures at the Rensselaer Nanotechnology Center, is definitely not retiring or leaving the Institute, joked Robert Hull, head of the Department of Materials Science and Engineering. Rather, a named symposium is among the highest honors researchers can offer their peers, he said.
Siegel’s career has been “extraordinary in terms of contributions and leadership in materials science and engineering education,” Hull said. “Professor Siegel’s citation level is higher now than it ever has been. Dick is truly at the height of his career.”
Guests and presenters from three continents attended the symposium, and the crowd was made up of many former and current students, colleagues, and peers of Siegel. Along with Mihail Roco, senior nanotechnology adviser to the National Science Foundation, researchers from Cornell, Brandeis, Brorn, Northwestern, Columbia, and several other universities presented on their research and experience working with or for Siegel. From Rensselaer, professors Jon Dordick, Shekhar Garde, and Linda Schadler presented.
“[Siegel] is a natural leader, and an ambassador for nanotechnology under a number of guises,” Roco said.
The author of more than 265 publications and 11 issued patents, Siegel has presented more than 480 invited lectures around the world and has edited 10 books on nanomaterials and defects. He was also a founder in 1989 of Nanophase Technologies Corp., now a publicly held manufacturing firm. He still serves on its board of directors. Additionally, Siegel, with Garde and Schadler, is an executive producer of the Imax animated movie Molecules to the MAX!, a 40-minute adventure that follows Oxy, Hydro, Hydra, Carbón, and other atom characters as they navigate the colorful world of atoms and molecules in search of life. The movie, distributed by SK Films, is playing in select educational Imax and giant screen theaters across the United States and around the world.
“Clearly, Professor Siegel has made stellar contributions at every level of the academic experience, bringing in prestige and influence at the international level,” said Provost Robert Palazzo, noting Siegel has more than 8,000 journal citations to date, and has garnered more than $60 million in research funding from federal, state, industry, and private sponsors.
Siegel’s research efforts over the past 25 years focus on the synthesis and processing, characterization, properties, and applications of nanostructured materials including ceramics, metals, composites, and biomaterials. His recent work includes studying polymer- and ceramic-based nanocomposites, and exploiting these nanostructured materials to advance soft material systems for biomedical tissue engineering. Siegel joined the Rensselaer faculty in 1995 as head of the Department of Materials Science and Engineering, and served in that role through 2000.
“To say [Siegel] is a giant in the field of materials and nanotechnology, applied materials research, and materials education, only begins to cover what he has contributed to Rensselaer and the School of Engineering,” said David Rosowsky, dean of engineering. “If Ted Kennedy was the lion of the Senate, then surely, Dick Siegel is the lion of the School of Engineering. We’re thrilled that he brings his expertise in research, and his passion for teaching, to our school.”