Volume 88 Issue 33 | p. 11 | News of The Week
Issue Date: August 16, 2010

Directing Materials Research

Engineering professor Ian M. Robertson will head the Materials Research Division at NSF
Department: Science & Technology
Keywords: NSF, Ian M. Robertson, materials research

Ian M. Robertson, an engineering professor at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign (UIUC), will be the next director of the Division of Materials Research at the National Science Foundation.

Robertson, whose appointment takes effect on Jan. 3, 2011, will replace Zakya H. Kafafi, who will finish her three-year term later this year. The division has a 2010 budget of just over $300 million and operates under NSF’s Directorate for Mathematical & Physical Sciences.

“This appointment recognizes Ian’s leadership, significant research, and educational contributions to the field,” Ilesanmi Adesida, dean of the College of Engineering at UIUC, said in a statement. The college’s department of materials science and engineering, which Robertson headed from 2003 to 2009, “has been the top-ranked materials science program in the nation for many years and Ian has been a key participant in achieving that distinction,” Adesida said.

Robertson, 53, received a doctorate in metallurgy from the University of Oxford in 1982 and immediately joined UIUC as a postdoctoral fellow. He became an associate professor there in 1984 and a full professor in 1995. Research in his lab focuses on understanding the basic processes controlling the mechanical response of materials exposed to extreme conditions.

In 1984, Robertson received the Department of Energy’s Outstanding Science Award in Metals & Ceramics. The Scotland native served as principal editor of the Journal of Materials Research from 1995 to 2010. He was elected a fellow of ASM International, a materials information society, in 2009.

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