2014 acta materialia, inc. materials and society award
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Scripta Materialia 69 (2013) 563–564
2014 Acta Materialia, Inc. Materials and Society Award
The winner of the 2014 Acta Materialia, Inc. Materi-als and Society Award (formerly the J. Herbert Hollo-mon Award) is Anson Marston DistinguishedProfessor Karl A. Gschneidner, Jr., of the Departmentof Materials Science and Engineering, Iowa State Uni-versity. He is also a Senior Metallurgist at the Depart-ment of Energy’s (DOE) Ames Laboratory and ChiefScientist of DOE’s newest Energy Innovation Hub –the Critical Materials Institute. Karl has been workingon rare earths since his graduate student days when hestarted working with his mentor Distinguished ProfessorFrank H. Spedding, known as the “father of rare earth-s,” and Dr. Adrian H. Daane in 1952 when he startedpreparing high purity rare earth metals and studied therare earth carbides. Notable achievements were (1) thepreparation of a one kilogram ingot of gadolinium me-tal (previously the largest Gd metal sample weighed lessthan 15 grams) and (2) discovery of 26 new rare earthcarbide compounds belonging to the R2C, R2C3, andRC2 families of compounds. The R2C family was un-known until discovered by Gschneidner.
After graduating from Iowa State University hejoined the plutonium physical metallurgy group at theLos Alamos National Laboratory, and, in addition toworking on delta-stabilized plutonium (d-Pu) alloys, hestudied the temperature-pressure phase diagram of cer-
1359-6462/$ - see front matterhttp://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.scriptamat.2013.08.005
ium metal. The former study led to a model for predict-ing which elements would stabilize the d-Pu phase andthose which would not. The cerium research openedthe door for a lifetime study of mixed valence ceriummetal and its intermetallic compounds and alloys.
In 1963 Gschneidner returned to Iowa State Univer-sity as an Associate Professor, taking over the metal-lurgy group led by one of his former mentors, Prof.Adrian H. Daane. During these formative years (1952–1963) Gschneidner always had an interest in promotingrare earth science and technology to other scientists andthe general public. In 1964 he was commissioned towrite a booklet for the layman on the rare earths as partof the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission’s“Understanding the Atom” series. The 42 page booklet“The Rare Earths – The Fraternal Fifteen” was rep-rinted three times.
Gschneidner’s major interactions with the interna-tional rare earth community and the general publicstarted in January 1966 when he established the Rare-earth Information Center (RIC) and served as its direc-tor for 30 years, when he turned RIC over to a youngercolleague, Dr. R.W. (Bill) McCallum. The InformationCenter published a quarterly newsletter, RIC News,which featured short, readable narratives on interestingand exciting articles excepted from published scientific,technical articles and reviews that appeared in peer re-viewed journals; news releases from various industrial,non-profit and academic sources; articles and photo-graphs from various research groups around the world;and summaries and photographs from rare earth and re-lated technical and scientific conferences. In addition,the Information Center had a vast searchable technicaldatabase of journal articles, books, pamphlets, technicalreports, theses, and proceedings. RIC also answered wellover 100 technical inquiries per year and occasionallypublished special reports for organizations on a cost re-covery basis. Most of the financial support for RICcame from Iowa State University and world-wide indus-trial organizations, and from a few individuals. RIC ser-vices were made available at no cost, and at one time itspublications had about 12,000 subscribers.
In March 1988 RIC launched a monthly publication,RIC Insight, which was supplied to the benefactors ofRIC with the latest breakthrough news, which wouldreach these subscribers about three months before thenarrative appeared in the quarterly RIC News. Further-more, some of the articles published in RIC Insight neversaw daylight in the RIC News, and in addition there
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were editorial comments that were appropriate for theindustrial community and not of interest to the averageRIC News readers.
In another major undertaking, Gschneidner estab-lished a successful series of handbooks on rare earth ma-terials, co-founded with Professor LeRoy Eyring ofArizona State University, Tempe, Arizona. Volume 1was published in 1978 and the series, the HANDBOOKON THE PHYSICS AND CHEMISTRY OF RAREEARTHS, still flourishes today with volume 44 cur-rently in press. Gschneidner served as the senior editoruntil 2011 (of volume 41) when he turned over the edi-torship to Prof. Jean-Claude G. Bunzli of the Swiss Fed-eral Institute of Technology, Lausanne andDistinguished Professor Vitalij K. Pecharsky of IowaState University. These volumes cover all aspects of rareearth science and technology, and occasionally have spe-cial volumes dedicated to a single topic, such as metals,alloys and intermetallics, non-metallic compounds (2volumes), high energy spectroscopy, lanthanides and ac-tinides (3 volumes), catalysis, high temperature super-conductors (2 volumes), and optical spectroscopy. Theaverage HANDBOOK volume is about 400 pages long,and over 250 chapters have been published.
Gschneidner was a member of the Acta Materialia,Inc. Board of Governors for thirteen years, includingten years as the Chairman of the Board, the longest ser-ving governor of the Board. During his term, Acta Ma-terialia, Inc. successfully launched Acta Biomaterialia,considered to be the leading journal in the biomaterialsfield.
In addition to his service to Acta Materialia, Inc.Gschneidner served on many other scientific and techni-cal committees, including the U.S. Rare Earth ResearchConferences for over 50 years. Gschneidner was the co-discoverer with Distinguished Professor Vitalij K. Pe-charsky of the giant magnetocaloric effect in 1997. Thisdiscovery had a tremendous impact not only on sciencebut through commercial magnetic cooling devices, it willalso improve the quality of life to just about everyone onthis planet. Today several companies from Europe toChina to Japan to the USA are seeking to commercializemagnetic cooling technology. When conventional refrig-eration is gradually replaced by its magnetic successor,large energy savings and environmental benefits willfollow.
In 2010 and 2011, Gschneidner’s testimony before theU.S. House of Representatives, Committee on Science,Space and Technology was quite instrumental in Con-gress providing funds for the Department of Energy toset up a new Energy Innovation Hub on Energy CriticalMaterials. Fortunately, the Ames Laboratory’s consor-tium with three other national DOE laboratories, sevenuniversities and seven industrial firms won the competi-tion to operate the Critical Minerals Institute (CMI) toprovide better routes to: (1) diversifying rare earth sup-plies, (2) developing substitutes for and reducing theusage of rare earths, (3) reusing and recycling rare earthmaterials, and (4) crosscutting scientific and technologi-cal research for exploring such issues as environmentaland supply chain impacts, and to assist the other threefocus areas to reach their milestones and ultimate goals.
The CMI began operation in April 2013, and it isheaded by Professor Alexander H. King. Gschneidnerwas appointed the Chief Scientist of the CMI.
Most of the above description concerns Gschneid-ner’s contributions to “Society.” His scientific achieve-ments have been well recognized and are brieflysummarized below.
Gschneidner received a B.S. degree from the Univer-sity of Detroit in 1952 and his Ph.D. from Iowa StateUniversity in 1957. He was at the Los Alamos NationalLaboratory from 1957 to 1963 and joined the faculty ofthe Department of Metallurgy at Iowa State Universityin 1963.
Gschneidner is considered the world’s foremostauthority of rare earth science, technology, applicationand utilization, and is known as “Mr. Rare Earths.”He has published over 510 papers in peer reviewed jour-nals, an additional 173 chapters in books, conferenceproceedings, and reports; 204 phase diagram evalua-tions; holds 15 patents (plus 4 pending); and has given324 invited presentations.
Gschneidner was elected to the National Academy ofEngineering in 2007 for “contributions to the scienceand technology of rare-earth materials,” and has re-ceived over 25 awards and honors for these efforts.These include: the Acta Materialia Gold Medal in2008; the 1978 William Hume-Rothery Award ofTMS; a Distinguished Professorship at Iowa State Uni-versity (ISU) in 1979; the 1989 Burlington NorthernAward for Excellence in Research from ISU; the 1991Frank H. Spedding award from the Rare Earth Re-search Conferences; the 1997 David R. Boylan EminentFaculty Award in Research, College of Engineering,ISU; the Science Alumnus of the Year 2000 Award fromthe University of Detroit Mercy. Gschneidner was alsoelected a Fellow in five professional societies: TMSand ASM International, both in 1990; APS in 2002;and MRS and AAAS both in 2011. Gschneidner is alsoan honorary member of the MRS-India, 1983; the Eur-opean Rare Earth and Actinide Society, 1998; and theMetallurgical Society of Japan, 2001, and a lifetimemember of TMS and ASM International.
Mr. Rare Earths usually rides a bike to work, weath-er permitting, each day – normally a total of 12 miles ifhe goes home for lunch, logging in about 2000 miles ayear. His favorite hobby is gardening – spending manyhours on weekends cultivating strawberries, variousfruit trees, vegetables (especially tomatoes and peppers),and flowers, including roses and begonias.
The Acta Materialia, Inc. Award in Materials andSociety was established in memory of Dr. J. HerbertHollomon and his dedication to promoting positive so-cial consequences of science and technology that havehad a major impact on society. The Award consists ofa glass sculpture, an inscribed certificate, and a cashhonorarium.
Gschneidner was selected as the 2014 awardee by aninternational panel of judges appointed by the Board ofGovernors of Acta Materialia, Inc. and will receive thisprestigious award in February 2014 during the TMSSpring meeting in San Diego, CA.