Celebrating 15 years
MSEG celebrates department's 15th anniversary at Winterthur Museum and Gardens
Alumni, faculty, industry partners and friends gathered at Winterthur Museum and Gardens on Friday, Sept. 20 to celebrate the Department of Materials Science and Engineering’s (MSEG) 15th anniversary. Distinguished members of the University in attendance included President Emeritus David Roselle, College of Engineering Dean Babatunde Ogunnaike and Deputy Provost Nancy Brickhouse.
"Your work—the basis for discovery of new materials—is crucial to our future economic, environmental and educational well-being," Brickhouse told attendees.
"A world-class 21st century College of Engineering must have a vibrant culture of creativity, innovation and entrepreneurship, with a shared vision and commitment to excellence—concepts already inherent to the work underway in materials science and engineering," added Ogunnaike.
MSEG began as an interdisciplinary program in the 1960's before becoming a degree program in 1985. In 1998, it was officially made a department, becoming the first new department in the College of Engineering in over 70 years. The department was led by former IBM research scientist, John F. Rabolt, who hired other industry professionals with the hopes of educating students, creating a successful research enterprise and developing the program to achieve national prominence.
"The most difficult part of the job when I first joined UD was the change from industrial to academic culture," Rabolt said. "I set up our office to reflect my IBM experiences, cross-training staff and building a strong camaraderie between faculty and staff. To this day we still are a close department."
Over the last 15 years, the department’s faculty members have built a national reputation as leaders in research related to biomolecular materials, electroactive polymers, energy storage materials, nanotechnology and polymer processing. Focus in these areas has led to the development of technologies that increase solar cell efficiency, better deliver leukemia drugs to children and offer more protection for soldiers, among other things.
In 2012, the National Research Council ranked the department 35th in the nation out of the 136 Materials Science and Engineering doctoral programs it examined.
Department Chair David Martin said he hopes the department can play a role in helping the university and college leverage interdisciplinary expertise across campus, strengthen industry partnerships and provide students the tools, experience and unparalleled education that will allow them to develop scientific advances with practical applications to National Academy of Engineer's grand challenges.
Martin presented UD alumnus Bulent Ozbas, who earned his doctoral degree in materials science and engineering in 2001, with the department’s inaugural Distinguished Alumni Award. This award is given annually to an outstanding alumnus based on their significant career achievements; the measurable impact of these achievements on their field of endeavor; the uniqueness of their career; and the level of interest in the recipients career from colleagues, students, peers and the general public.
Ozbas is currently a research engineer at Air Products and Chemical, Inc. in Allentown, Penn., where his responsibilities include research and applications development for the polyurethane foam market. He earned his bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from Middle East Technical University in Turkey and completed postdoctoral research at Princeton University before joining Air Products in 2007. While at UD, Ozbas studied the self-assembly of peptide molecules and block copolymers under the supervision of MSEG Professor Darrin Pochan.
Article by Kevin Cella