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Harmer lauded for contributions to science of ceramics

Martin P. Harmer, the Alcoa Foundation Professor of Materials Science and Engineering and Senior Faculty Adviser for Engineering Research Initiatives, has been named a Distinguished Life Member of the American Ceramic Society (ACerS).

ACerS' Distinguished Life Member grade is the highest honor accorded members of this scientific and technical organization and its most prestigious level of membership. It is awarded in recognition of a member's contribution to the ceramics profession. According to the ACerS charter, "Distinguished Life Members shall be current members of the Society of professional eminence who, because of their achievements in the ceramic arts or sciences, or their service to the Society, are elected to such membership by the Board of Directors."

According to ACerS, Distinguished Life Membership is given in recognition of an individual's eminent contribution to the ceramic and glass profession. Harmer will be recognized at the ACerS Honors and Awards Banquet on Monday, October 5, 2015 in Columbus, OH.

"Each year," says ACerS former President David Green, "ACerS presents the title Distinguished Life Member to preeminent members who have made great advances in ceramic science and technology, given significant contributions to the benefit of the Society, and who have helped mentor and inspire our younger leaders through their research and teaching."

Over the course of more than two decades as director of Lehigh's Center for Advanced Materials and Nanotechnology, Professor Harmer helped develop it into one of the most highly respected materials research centers in the U.S. His research has focused on advancing the fundamental understanding of microstructure control, sintering, grain growth and transport behavior of ceramics, for tailoring the material properties.

Harmer's recent research has led to fundamental discoveries about the nature of grain boundaries, providing mechanism-based solutions to outstanding problems in materials science such as the cause of abnormal grain growth, oxidation retardation of alloys, liquid metal embrittlement and the thermal stability of bulk nanograin materials. He has supervised a total of approximately 60 Ph.D. students and 25 post-doctoral researchers.

One of Harmer's latest works involves an innovative way to decontaminate ceramic material and strengthen its fundamental nanostructure. Improving the processing techniques is crucial, because ceramics are the building blocks of many products, including the powder-based polymers used in selective laser sintering (SLS), a rapid 3D printing method. Ceramics are made by applying heat and pressure to pack together separate grains. Understanding the properties of the boundaries between the bonded crystals, which are only a few atoms wide, is key to engineering the desired materials.

Dr. Harmer has authored some 250 scholarly publications, is included in Thomson ISI's list of most highly-cited researchers, and serves as editor of Acta Materialia. He is a Fellow of the American Ceramic Society (ACerS), and has won numerous national and international awards, including the ACerS' Kingery Lifetime Achievement Award as well as its highest honor for basic science achievement, the Robert B. Sosman Award, a Humboldt Award for senior scientists and the Presidential Young Investigator Award from the White House Office of Science and Technology He has won teaching and research awards at Lehigh, and holds membership in the World Academy of Ceramics, the European Academy of Sciences, and the International Institute for the Science of Sintering.

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