Alfred University News

Scholes Lecture at Alfred University returns with two featured speakers

After a two-year hiatus due to Alfred University’s response to the COVID pandemic, the annual Scholes Lecture at Alfred University returns Thursday, April 28, at 11:20 a.m. in Holmes Auditorium, Harder Hall, with two featured speakers.

ALFRED, NY – After a two-year hiatus due to Alfred University’s response to the COVID pandemic, the annual Scholes Lecture at Alfred University returns Thursday, April 28, at 11:20 a.m. in Holmes Auditorium, Harder Hall, with two featured speakers.

Liping Huang, professor of materials science and engineering at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute will present the 2022 lecture. Alastair Cormack, the Van Derck Fréchette Professor of Ceramic Science and Founding Dean of the Inamori School of Engineering at Alfred University, will follow with what would have been the 2020 Scholes Lecture, but which was postponed due COVID.

The 2021 Scholes Lecture, by William LaCourse, retired professor of glass science at Alfred University, was also postponed due to COVID. LaCourse will deliver that lecture on Sept. 8, 2022, during the Conference on Glass Recycling and Sustainability hosted by Alfred University.

Huang’s lecture, titled “Glass Under Pressure,” will discuss how pressure can be used to create unique glass materials.

“For thousands of years, glasses have been primarily made by cooling high temperature liquids fast enough to avoid crystallization. This limits the composition range that can form glasses, the atomic structure and the resulting properties, as only a small portion of the amorphous states can be accessed,” Huang writes in her lecture abstract. “Recent studies have shown that pressure could be very effective in synthesizing novel glasses that are otherwise unattainable by the conventional melt quenching technique.”

Properties of permanently densified novel glasses include “high elastic modulus, high hardness, enhanced ductility, high thermal-mechanical stability, and reduced optical loss and dispersion.” Structure of pressure-processed glasses will be discussed in detail, in comparison to those from melt quenching, to understand their unique properties.

Huang obtained her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in materials science and engineering from Zhejiang University, China, and her Ph.D. degree from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. After several years of postdoctoral research experience at the University of Michigan and North Carolina State University, she joined RPI faculty in 2008. She has been the Associate Dean for Research and Graduate Programs in the School of Engineering at RPI since 2018.

Her primary research interest is e the structure-property relationships at the atomic level in amorphous materials by using a combination of in-situ light scattering techniques and multi-scale computer simulation methods. She has published more than 100 journal papers and delivered more than 70 invited talks at international conferences and research institutions. Among other awards, she was honored with the Norbert J. Kreidl Award from the Glass and Optical Materials Division in the American Ceramic Society (ACerS) in 2003. She was elected as a fellow of the American Ceramic Society (ACerS) in 2020.

Huang served on the executive committee of the Glass and Optical Materials Division (GOMD) of ACerS. As the chair of the Division, she led the 100th anniversary celebration of the GOMD in 2019 and joined the Steering Committee for the UN International Year of Glass, which is being celebrated this year.

Cormack’s lecture, “Disorder in Ceramics and Glass – an Atom’s Eye View,” will examine the application of atomistic simulations to some of the problems, in both crystals and glasses, undertaken by Cormack’s students over the years.

“Many of the useful – or otherwise – properties of ceramics and glass can be blamed on disorder at the atomic scale,” Cormack observes in an abstract for the talk. “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.

“…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 chemical reactivity, involving dissociative reactions, can be followed.”

Cormack holds an M.A. degree from the University of Cambridge and M.S. and doctoral 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 at Alfred University 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 United Kingdom.

Cormack has published extensively and is considered 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.

The Scholes Lecture Series was established in 1982 by alumni of Alfred University to honor the late Samuel R. Scholes, who in 1932 established the first glass science program in the United States at the New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred University. Scholes served as dean, associate dean, head of the Department of Glass Technology, and professor of glass science.