Inside Rensselaer
* Richard Siegel
Richard Siegel Elected Fellow of Materials Research Society
Nanotechnology pioneer Richard W. Siegel, the Robert W. Hunt Professor of Materials Science and Engineering and director of the Rensselaer Nanotechnology Center, has been named a fellow of the Materials Research Society (MRS).

“We are thrilled to learn of Professor Siegel’s elevation to fellow of the prestigious Materials Research Society. This is the highest honor one can earn from their peers as it recognizes a career’s worth of achievement in materials science and engineering,” said David Rosowsky, dean of the School of Engineering at Rensselaer. “Dr. Siegel is widely regarded as one of the world’s foremost authorities on nanomaterials, and also is known as a truly exceptional teacher, adviser, and mentor to many who have passed through the doors of Rensselaer. We are privileged to have faculty of Dick’s caliber in our school and all of us celebrate this most recent achievement.”

Cited for his seminal contributions and leadership in developing the field of nanomaterials and for outstanding professional and public service, the MRS will honor Siegel on April 6-7 at the organization’s 2010 spring meeting in San Francisco.

The MRS reserves the title of fellow to honor members who are “notable for their distinguished research accomplishments and their outstanding contributions to the advancement of materials research, worldwide.”

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. This includes investigations into the creation of nanoscale building blocks, particularly inorganic nanoparticles, and their directed assembly into useful materials and devices. 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 is also an executive producer of the Imax animated movie Molecules to the MAX!, a 40-minute 3-D 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. With the help of the Molecularium — a fantastic spaceship that can shrink to nanoscale sizes — the group explores the “secret worlds” and molecular structures of everyday objects including a snowflake, chewing gum, a penny, and even a human cell. The movie, distributed by SK Films, is playing in select educational Imax theaters across the United States and around the world.

Siegel is the past chair of the World Technology Evaluation Center worldwide study of nanostructure science and technology that led to the U.S. National Nanotechnology Initiative. He also served on the Nanotechnology Technical Advisory Group of the U.S. President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology and is a former chairman of the International Committee on Nanostructured Materials.

Siegel joined the Rensselaer faculty in 1995 as head of the Department of Materials Science and Engineering, and served in that role through 2000. Prior to Rensselaer, he was a faculty member at the State University of New York at Stony Brook from 1966 to 1976 and a research scientist and group leader at Argonne National Laboratory from 1974 to 1995. Siegel was also a founder in 1989 of Nanophase Technologies Corporation, now a publicly held (Nasdaq: NANX) manufacturing firm, and still serves on its board of directors.

The author of more than 265 publications and 11 issued patents, Siegel also has presented more than 480 invited lectures around the world and has edited 10 books on nanomaterials and defects. He is an honorary member of the Materials Research Societies of India and Japan, a 1994 recipient of an Alexander von Humboldt Foundation Senior Research Award in Germany, was named a 2001 RIKEN Eminent Scientist in Japan, and he received a 2003 Deutsche Bank Prize in Germany.

Siegel received a bachelor’s degree in physics at Williams College, and went on to earn a master’s degree in physics and doctoral degree in metallurgy from the University of Illinois.
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Inside Rensselaer
Volume 4, Number 6, April 2, 2010
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