The Inamori School of Engineering hosts two annual lectures for fall and spring semesters. In addition, the School of Engineering hosts and co-sponsors many important conferences as a part of our Continuing Education Program for industry and professionals.

Samuel R. Scholes Award Lecture

2021 Lecture:

Disorder in Ceramics and Glass – An Atom’s Eye View
Dr. Alastair Cormack
The Van Derck Fréchette Professor of Ceramic Science
Founding Dean of the Inamori School of Engineering
Alfred University

Holmes Auditorium - Date TBD - 11:20 am to 12:10 pm

John F. McMahon Award Lecture

2021 Lecture:

It Starts with Ceramic Processing (“Think like a particle”)
Dr. William Carty
Emeritus Professor of Ceramic Engineering
Kazuo Inamori School of Engineering
New York State College of Ceramics
Alfred University

Holmes Auditorium - October 7, 2021 - 11:20 am to 12:10 pm

Dr. Samuel Ray Scholes served Alfred University and the Alfred community for over 40 years as dean (1946-1948), associate dean (1948 - 1952), head of the Department of Glass Technology, and professor of glass science (1932 - 1946). He established the first glass science program in the United States at the College of Ceramics in 1932. As a scientist devoted to the English language, Dr. Scholes developed the program for teaching technical writing at Alfred University. Dr. Scholes was educated at Ripon College (BA, 1905) and Yale University (PhD, 1911). He was a poet, scholar, and a scientific educator of the highest caliber who believed in glass as the "eye of science, the carrier of light."

For his contributions as a scholar, educator, administrator, and glass scientist, Dr. Scholes was honored by Alfred University with an honorary Doctor of Science degree. His name was also chosen for the Scholes Library of Ceramics, and the Samuel R. Scholes Lecture Series was established in honor of his interest in the history and philosophy of science.

As author of Modern Glass Practice, a highly acclaimed book on glass making, published continuously seven times between 1935 and 1975, Dr. Scholes helped standardize the process of glass making in the United States. He was author of three other books: Glass Industry Handbook, Glass Tank Furnaces, and Opportunities in Ceramics.

During his 19 years in the glass industry, he helped to develop automatic manufacture and general control of raw materials and standardization. He held patents for development of an improved glass-melting pot; a method of stirring optical glass; and extraction of potash from feldspar.

"...let us...each do our part in seeing that the materials inventions of our age are made to serve the high needs and destinies of the race..." -Samuel R. Scholes.

Dr. Alastair Cormack

Alastair Cormack is the Van Derck Fréchette Professor of Ceramic Science and Founding Dean of the Inamori School of Engineering at Alfred University.   He holds an MA degree from the University of Cambridge and MSc and PhD degrees from the University of Wales, Aberystwyth.  Following post-doctoral work at University College London (including a stay at the University of Chicago), he joined the faculty of the New York State College of Ceramics in 1985.   Since then, he has held a number of administrative positions in addition to his research and teaching.

He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry, a Fellow of the American Ceramic Society, a Fellow of the Society of Glass Technology and a Fellow of the Mineralogical Society.   He has Chartered Scientist and Chartered Chemist status in the UK.

He has published extensively, with an h-index of 45, and is considered to be one of the world’s leading authorities on the application of atomistic computer simulations to the structure and properties of glasses.   He is a member of the International Advisory Boards for the Physics of Non-Crystalline Solids (PNCS) conference series (first organized by Van Derck Fréchette) and the Structure of Non-Crystalline Materials (NCM) conference series.   In 2007 he organized the 17th International Conference on Solid State Ionics, and the XIVth International Conference on the Physics of Non-Crystalline Solids in 2015.

Disorder in Ceramics and Glass – An Atom’s Eye View


Many of the useful – or otherwise – properties of ceramics and glass can be blamed on disorder at the atomic scale.   However, this can be hard to characterize experimentally, particularly in the case of glasses.   Forty years ago, the field of Computational (Ceramic) Materials Science did not exist.   Computer programs designed to model – or calculate – at the atomic scale, the properties of inorganic solids were in their infancy or still being written.  

Atomistic simulations can be divided, broadly speaking, into two categories: static and dynamic.  Static simulations are used to calculate things like point defect properties and equilibrium structures, basically by using energy minimization.   Dynamic simulations follow the time evolution of the system, basically by applying Newton’s laws of motion.   Both require the calculation of forces and energies which can be either done classically (using the Born model of the solid), or quantum mechanically (in effect solving the Schrodinger equation).  Much has changed over the past four decades, both in terms of hardware and software.   Really quite complex problems can now be tackled, particularly with respect to chemistry, where multi-component systems are now the norm and reactivity, involving dissociative reactions, can be followed.

In this lecture, I will review the application of atomistic simulations to some of the problems undertaken by students in my group over the years, in both crystals and glasses.

Edgar Dutra Zanotto

Dr. Edgar Dutra Zanotto

Edgar Dutra Zanotto (EDZ) holds a B.Sc. in Materials Engineering from the Federal University of São Carlos (1976), a M.Sc. in Physics from the University of São Paulo (1979), and a Ph.D. in Glass Technology from the University of Sheffield, UK (1982). He was a visiting professor (Fullbright Fellow) at the University of Arizona (1987); and the University of Central Florida (2005), both in the USA. He is currently a professor of Materials Science and Engineering at the Federal University of São Carlos and Director of the CeRTEV (Center for Research, Technology, and Education in Vitreous Materials) with 9 PIs and over 60 graduate students.

EDZ’s work includes fundamental and applied research on the crystallization kinetics and properties of glasses and glass-ceramics (GC). They include rigorous tests, improvement or development of nucleation and growth models for glasses, effects of liquid phase separation on nucleation, surface crystallization kinetics, overall crystallization, glass stability, glass forming ability, molecular structure and nucleation mechanism, sintering with simultaneous crystallization, diffusion processes in glasses. He is also interested in mechanical, rheological, thermal, and bio properties of glasses and GC.

The technological branch of Zanotto's team comprises projects in partnership with 22 companies and consultancy to more than 40 companies. He is interested in the development or improvement of glasses and GC with improved or new functionalities. Zanotto has published circa 270 original and review papers, 21 book chapters, 3 books, 5 book prefaces, and filed 27 patents. He has advised ca. 80 masters, doctoral, and post-doctoral researchers. Twenty-eight of his former students and post-docs became university professors or glass researchers. He is editor of the Journal of Non-Crystalline Solids, and Advisory Board Member of the International Journal of Applied Glass Science, Bio-Med Glasses, International Materials Reviews, S-Nature Applied Sciences, Ceramics in Modern Technologies, Materials Research, Bulletin Sociedad Espanhola Ceramica y Vidrio, Iranian Journal of Materials Science and Technology, and Cerâmica.

EDZ has chaired 6 of the most important glass congresses and has been a member of the Scientific Advisory Board of more than 50 materials and glass congresses. He has delivered over 500 conference presentations, including approximately 150 invited talks and 30 plenary talks. He is a member of both Brazilian and São Paulo State Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering, The World Academy of Sciences (TWAS), World Academy of Ceramics, and Fellow of the Society of Glass Tech, UK, American Ceramic Society, and Brazilian Ceramic Society. His 49 awards include the most important Brazilian award for science (Admiral Alvaro Alberto), and 7 of the most celebrated international glass research honors (Foster Research Prize; Zachariasen Award; Gottardi Prize; Morey Award; Turner, Cooper, and Scholes Lecturer). Finally, the Edgar Zanotto award was created by the Materials Research Society of India in 2017. His current international positions are Editor of the Journal of Non-Crystalline Solids, ICG Crystallization Committee member, ACerS Global Ambassador, Council member of the International Ceramic Federation and International Commission on Glass, and Advisory Board member of the FunGlass Institute. He also holds some honorary and executive positions in Brazil.

Glass Myths and Marvels

Dr. Edgar D. Zanotto
Department of Materials Engineering Center for Research, Technology, and Education in Vitreous Materials, Federal University of São Carlos, SP, Brazil


This is a fun lecture. First, we define what glasses are, and then we dwell on some urban legends related to glasses. We review and discuss, in light of experimental evidence, three well-known histories about glass: the possible (slow) flow of medieval stained glass; the first “glass miracle”- coloured sacred images that appear on some contemporary windows; and the alleged shattering of glass windows by the bare voice of the famous tenor Caruso, and American singer Ella Fitzgerald.

Reportedly some stained glass windows from 12th-century cathedrals are thicker at the bottom than at the top, suggesting that glass is a liquid which flows (albeit slowly) downward under the force of gravity. When I first heard about sagging medieval windows, I thought it was just a Brazilian myth. But then I listened to the same tale from colleagues in Argentina, and found echoes of it the Encyclopedia Britannica and even in engineering textbooks. Although window glass isn't supposed to flow at room temperature, old glass has many impurities that might help it ooze. So I looked up the chemical compositions of some 350 medieval glasses and calculated (extrapolated) typical viscosities at room temperature. With the help of P.K. Gupta, we then estimated (a lower bound) on how long a typical window glass would take to flow a few mm at room temperature.

In July 2002, an image on an old window mobilized thousands of people in a small town on the outskirts of São Paulo, Brazil. It is a face that is reminiscent of the Virgin Mary, the mother of Jesus. After countless television reports, similar effigies started to be noticed in homes from several other cities in Brazil, in Clearwater and Boston, USA. To attend a request from the Vatican to check up a possible “glass miracle”, we demonstrated...

Finally, we will dwell on the possibility that a person's bare voice can shatter a glass window or a glass cup. Our findings will be disclosed at the end of the lecture.



Manoj Choudhary, Sc. D.
President, International Commission on Glass


The leading part of the title of the lecture is a grateful tribute to Dr. Samuel R. Scholes for writing the highly acclaimed text “Modern Glass Practice”. Through this and other books, Prof. Scholes, an eminent scholar, educator, and industrial glass scientist trained generation of students and had a profound impact on the US glass industry. The lecturer’s decision to include materials other than glass in the presentation reflects both his experience with several materials and a recognition that the Kazuo Inamori School of Engineering includes educational and research programs for a broad range of materials. The theme of the lecture, namely materials process and product innovation, is also very much in the spirit of what Dr. Scholes consistently emphasized during his long and illustrious career.

The seventh and the final revised of Modern Glass Practice was published in 1975, an era that saw the beginnings of computer aided mathematical modeling of materials processes in general and glass making in particular. Since then, the phenomenal advances in digital electronics (Moore’s Law) have resulted in the development of sophisticated tools and techniques that allow us to simulate the behavior of materials processes and products in increasingly predictive ways. The models in use now span a broad spectrum of spatial and temporal domains. Quantum mechanical and atomistic scale simulations constitute one end of this spectrum, the fundamental end. Simulations dealing large data sets and using techniques such as statistical analysis, neural networks, and genetic algorithm constitute the opposite, empirically dominated end of the spectrum. Engineering and manufacturing applications of scientific fundamentals were of primary professional interest to Dr. Scholes. These are typically handled by continuum models, which are roughly in the middle of the spectrum of models and are used extensively for process and product development, design, and engineering.

The lecture will illustrate industrial applications of advanced continuum based models in conjunction with material specific constitutive relations for process and product development and innovation. It will do so by describing case studies involving glass and polymeric processes and products. Specifically, on the process side, the lecture will discuss the use of modeling to significantly improve aspects of glass melting and forming, and polymeric foam extrusion processes. On the product side, the lecture will describe developments of a fiberglass insulation product for cold temperature applications and a nano-graphite containing extruded polystyrene product with enhanced thermal and mechanical properties.


Manoj Choudhary

Dr. Manoj Choudhary is the President of the International Commission on Glass (ICG). He obtained his Sc.D. in Materials Science and Engineering from Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He is a Fellow of the British Society of Glass Technology, and a Fellow of the American Ceramic Society. Besides the ICG, Dr. Choudhary has presided over several professional organizations including the Industry-University Center for Glass Research at Alfred University, the Glass and Optical Materials Division of the American Ceramic Society, and the Glass Manufacturing Industry Council, of which he was also a founder. He is a member of the Board of Trustees of the American Ceramic Society and a Specially-appointed Professor of China State Key Laboratory of Advanced Technology for Float Glass.

Dr. Choudhary’s professional interests include development of innovative materials processes and products through the application of engineering fundamentals, physics, chemistry, materials science, and advance computational approaches. He worked at Owens Corning’s Science and Technology Center in Granville, Ohio, USA during Sept. 1982-Feb. 2018 and was a member of its Senior Technical Staff. He laid the foundations for advanced computational fluid dynamics (CFD) based simulation of several key materials processes at Owens Corning (OC), including glass melting and polymeric foam extrusion. His contributions were at the core of some of the most significant glass and polymer process technology and product developments in OC during the past 35 years. He has authored over 60 technical reports in OC, published 57 papers, and holds 10 current and pending patents.

Dr. Choudhary has received several awards and honors for his academic and professional achievements. These include Falih N. Darmara Award (Materials Science & Engineering Department at MIT), Prof. S. K. Nandi Gold Medal (Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur), Friedberg Memorial Lecture (American Ceramic Society), and, multiple times, Owens Corning’s highest Technical Achievement Awards. Dr. Choudhary is a registered Professional Engineer in Ohio.

John F. McMahon promoted relationships between industry and academe and advanced the education of ceramic engineers and artists during his tenure as Dean of the New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred University from 1949 to 1965. He was alert to the relevance of research while he remained compassionate

For the 68 years that McMahon was associated with the College as a student, researcher, professor, division head, dean, curator and dean emeritus, he focused national attention on the College and heralded the importance of ceramic materials to society.

As a president of the American Ceramic Society and a founder of the Canadian Ceramic Society, Dean McMahon influenced ceramic engineering and education far beyond Alfred, New York. Honorary doctorates from Alfred University and Clemson University recognized his contributions to the field of ceramics throughout the world.

McMahon led the College to consider the vital needs of industry while maintaining a strong academic tradition of basic fundamental research and education. Long before others seriously considered ceramic materials for automobiles, John explored the idea with General Motors and saw promise of the use of ceramic materials in automobiles.

As a further tribute to one of the outstanding leaders of the New York State College of Ceramics, in 1987 Alfred University created the John F. McMahon Chair in Ceramic Engineering, to be filled by a notable ceramic engineer or scientist who exemplifies Dr. McMahon's ideals and who focuses national attention on the importance of ceramic materials and the role the New York State College of Ceramics plays in that field.

Dr. Richard M. Spriggs, Professor of Ceramic Engineering Emeritus, was appointed the first John F. McMahon Professor; Dr. James E. Shelby, Jr., held the position October 1997 - September 2008.

Bill CartyBiography

Dr. William Carty received the B.S. (1985) and M.S. (1987) both in Ceramic Engineering from the University of Missouri-Rolla (now Missouri University of Science and Technology), and a Ph.D. in Materials Science and Engineering from the University of Washington (Seattle, 1992).  He held a one-year post-doctoral position at Koninklijke/Shell-Laboratorium, Amsterdam (The Netherlands). 

Professor Carty joined the faculty at Alfred University in 1993 and achieved the rank of Professor in 2002 and was appointed the John F. McMahon Professor in 2010.  He served as the Chair of Ceramic Engineering and Glass Engineering Science (2008 and 2010, respectively, until 2019).  He retired from teaching at Alfred University December 2020 but continues to do research and advise graduate students.  During his tenure at Alfred University, he worked closely with industry and generated over $23 million in research funding, mostly with industrial projects or by leveraging industrial funds with New York State funding sources. 

He was recognized for the quality of his teaching, receiving 11 teaching awards, including the SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching (2006).  He has advised 77 (+6) graduate student theses (9 Ph.D. (+3 current) and 68 M.S. (+3 current), and 172 undergraduate theses (+3 current), and was awarded the Alfred University Research Mentor Award in 2015.  He was named a NYSTAR Distinguished Professor  in 2002 and received the SUNY Research and Scholarship Award in 2005.

Since he joined the faculty in the New York State College of Ceramics, he has enjoyed a strong connection with the Ceramic Art program in the School of Art & Design, and particularly with John Gill, with whom he taught the graduate seminar course “Problem Solving for Artists”.  Over the years he has been a frequent contributor to NCECA and teaches Ceramic Science for the Artist in Alfred Summer School and at several other locations. 

He is an active member of the American Ceramic Society and was elevated to Fellow in 2000 and awarded the Karl Schwartzwalder-Professional Achievement in Ceramic Engineering Award in 2002.  In 2015 he started the Manufacturing Division of the American Ceramic Society and served as the first division chair and currently serves as Counselor and as the division representative to the Fellows Panel. 

He was the director of the Whiteware Research Center from 1995 to 2005, an industry-university consortium comprised of dinnerware, electrical insulator, and sanitaryware manufacturers.  His current research interests are ceramic processing and microstructural evolution (in both traditional and advanced ceramic materials); failure analysis of ceramic materials (fractography, stress analysis, etc.); the development of a unified approach to explain and control ceramic forming processes; tailoring microstructures and porosity for specific applications; the connection between strength and processing; glass batch reactions and melting; the development of high-performance glasses; and the refinement of sustainable ceramic manufacturing processes (i.e., energy efficient and environmentally-sound).  He has authored or co-authored over 160 publications; holds thirteen patents (plus six patents pending) and is an active consultant to the ceramic industry.


It Starts with Ceramic Processing (“Think like a particle”)

Ceramics are, in many respects, the last manufacturing systems that start with a raw material and, at the other end of the factory, exit as a finished product.  Few ceramic materials or components can be purchased from a catalog, such as steel nuts and bolts, for example.  If a ceramic component is required, the part must be specifically designed and fabricated.  Ceramic manufacturers often first contribute to the design, and then must control the raw material processing, forming, sintering, and finishing operations to produce the finished component.  For the ceramic engineer, there are typically three options when confronted with a defined need for material and performance properties:  (1) identify a suitable material; (2) modify an existing material to meet the specified requirements; or (3) invent a new ceramic material. 

Ceramic processing is the foundation of all ceramic manufacturing processes.  Defects resulting from processing issues can be the strength limiting flaws that restrict the component performance.  It is established that there are five factors that control suspension rheology (particle-particle interactions; particle concentration (water content); particle size and distribution; particle morphology; and the rheology of the suspension medium).  This is a very useful approach for a variety of processes, and to attempt process control, and is particularly important for slip casting applications.  It would be quite useful if we could, or would, think like a particle, i.e., observe the environment the particle “sees.”

It would seem that tape casting would be a suspension forming technique, but it actually fits more closely with extrusion and vibratory casting.  In these cases, the five factors reduce to four factors.  Water content is no longer a variable but is a response.  The forming process dictates the rheology, and the rheology is controlled by the amount of excess liquid in the system – that above what is necessary to fill the pore structure.  Particle packing is dictated by the particle-particle interactions, particle size and distributions, and the particle morphology.  If the packing efficiency increases, the overall water content necessary for the forming process decreases.  Conversely, if the packing efficiency decreases, the water demand increases.  Specific volume diagrams were used to identify the process windows for tape casting, extrusion, and vibratory casting. 

The concepts behind ceramic processing have broad reaching implications for other aspects of ceramics and glass.  Examples include processing and microstructure evolution in traditional ceramics, wetting behavior in slip casting applications, selective batching for glass melting, heterocoagulation for uniform dopant distribution, granulation technology, and engineering granules for packed-bed binder-jetting 3-D printing applications. 

When I was an undergraduate student, I was convinced that the interesting ceramic problems were solved.  I am pleased to report that is far from the case – there are a LOT of fascinating problems still to be addressed in ceramic engineering.

Susan Trolier McKinstry

2019 McMahon Lecture
Thursday, October 10, 2019
Speaker: Dr. Susan Trolier-McKinstry
Steward S. Flaschen Professor of Ceramic Science and Engineering, Professor of Electrical Engineering, and Director of the Nanofabrication
Penn State


Susan Trolier-McKinstry is the Steward S. Flaschen Professor of Ceramic Science and Engineering, Professor of Electrical Engineering, and Director of the Nanofabrication facility at the Pennsylvania State University. Her main research interests include thin films for dielectric and piezoelectric applications. She is a member of the US National Academy of Engineering, a fellow of the American Ceramic Society, IEEE, and the Materials Research Society, and an academician of the World Academy of Ceramics. She currently serves as an associate editor for Applied Physics Letters. She was 2017 President of the Materials Research Society; previously she served as president of the IEEE Ultrasonics, Ferroelectrics and Frequency Control Society, as well as Keramos. Twenty-one people that she has advised/co-advised have gone on to take faculty positions around the world.


Piezoelectric Films for Microelectromechanical Systems
Piezoelectric thin films are of increasing interest in low voltage microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) for sensing, actuation, and energy harvesting. They also serve as model systems to study fundamental behavior in piezoelectrics. The seminar will discuss how materials are optimized for these applications, as well as examples of the use of piezoelectric films over a wide range of length scales. The key figures of merit for actuators and energy harvesting will be discussed, with emphasis on how to achieve these on practical substrates. For example, control of the domain structure of the ferroelectric material allows the energy harvesting figure of merit for the piezoelectric layer to be increased by factors of 4 – 10. Likewise, control of crystallographic orientation and substrate clamping enables large increases in the figure of merit for actuators. To illustrate the functionality of these films, examples of integration into MEMS structures will also be discussed, including adaptive optics for Xray telescopes, low frequency and non-resonant piezoelectric energy harvesting devices, and piezoelectronic transistors as a potential replacement for CMOS electronics.

Dr. Marina Pascucci


Transparent Ceramics – How and Why

Dr. Marina R. Pascucci
Director – Government Programs, CeraNova Corporation

The term transparent is typically used to describe oxide glasses and oxide single crystals, which can be highly transparent and are, strictly speaking, ceramics. Ceramic polycrystalline oxides, which are normally opaque, also can be made transparent if composition, purity, and microstructure are carefully controlled. The raw material and processing advances that have enabled transparent ceramics will be reviewed, and the use of transparent ceramics, particularly in demanding defense applications, will be discussed. Additionally, the “how” and “why” that caused the speaker to become involved with the development of transparent ceramics will be presented as an example of how one’s career path is often achieved through a combination of deliberate planning, unpredictable events, and fortuitous opportunity.


Marina R. Pascucci

Dr. Marina R. Pascucci earned her B.S. in Ceramic Science and her B.A. in Chemistry from Alfred University, and her M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Ceramics/Materials Science from Case Western Reserve University. Prior to joining CeraNova Corporation in 1997, Dr. Pascucci was an Assistant Professor at Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Worcester, MA. She also has 10 years of industrial research experience as a Senior Member of Technical Staff at GTE Laboratories, Waltham, MA (1985-1992) and as a Research Scientist at Battelle Laboratories in Columbus, OH (1983-1985).

Dr. Pascucci is co-author of approximately 30 papers on processing, characterization, and applications of advanced ceramics including transparent polycrystalline ceramics, piezoelectric ceramics, and ceramic/ceramic composites, and on radiation damage in a-quartz. She holds three patents for transparent polycrystalline ceramics (2 US and 1 European). At CeraNova since 1997, she was the company’s President for 17 years. In her current role as Director of Government Programs she is responsible for business development, customer relations, and program management for contracts with the Department of Defense and other U.S. government clients.

In 2000, Dr. Pascucci received the Alfred University Alumni Association Career Achievement Award. She was one of five invited female speakers at the International Workshop for Women Ceramists held in conjunction with the 50th Anniversary of Korean Ceramic Society in Seoul, South Korea in 2007. Pascucci was an invited speaker at the opening of the Inamori Fine Ceramics Museum at Alfred University in 2011, and later that same year spoke at the Judson Leadership Center for their “Women of Influence” series. More recently, her career profile was included in “Successful Women Ceramic and Glass Scientists and Engineers – 100 Inspirational Profiles” published by Wiley in 2016.

Pascucci has been a member of The American Ceramic Society for over 40 years. She is a past chair of the New England Section, and received the Section’s F.H. Norton Distinguished Ceramist Award in 2002. She currently serves as Counselor to the New England Section. She has served on a number of ACerS Committees including Publications, Nominating and Finance. More recently, she served on the ACerS Board of Directors, and was the Society’s President in 2011. Pascucci has participated on several panels at ACerS Young Professionals Workshops, was a Keramos Career Speaker (2012), and an invited speaker at the MS&T Emerging Professionals Symposium (2013).

Dr. Pascucci became a Fellow of the Society in 1999 and a Distinguished Life Member in 2017.