Department of Applied Physics and Materials Science - Materials Science

Materials Science Research Lecture

Wednesday November 18, 2020 4:00 PM

Coaxing the Recalcitrant: The Test Case of Grain Boundary Complexions

Speaker: Martin Harmer, Material Science and Engineering, Lehigh University
Location: Online Event

Webinar Link:

Webinar ID: 957 0877 2987


How do we convince the scientific community to adopt a new concept? Grain boundary complexions give the chance to explore the issues. Much can be learned from the writings of Everett Rogers, the eminent communication theorist and sociologist, and his classic text on "The Diffusion of Innovations". The talk will introduce the "Rogers Rules" for the adoption of an innovation, applying them to the test case of grain boundary complexions. Following an update on the progress with complexions, the presentation will end with some general thoughts about the future opportunities for accelerating scientific discovery in the field.

More about the Speaker:

Martin Harmer is the Alcoa Foundation Professor of Material Science and Engineering at Lehigh University. He studied ceramics at Leeds University in England from 1972 to 1980, where he graduated with a first class honors B.Sc. degree and a Ph.D. in ceramics, and he also received a D.Sc. degree from Leeds in 1995. He conducted his doctoral research on the rapid sintering of pure and doped alpha alumina under the supervision of Professor Sir Richard Brook. During his Ph.D. he spent one year on a graduate fellowship at the University of California at Berkeley, learning advanced techniques in transmission electron microscopy under the guidance of Professor Gareth Thomas. Dr. Harmer joined Lehigh University in 1980. He directed the Lehigh Center for Advanced Materials and Nanotechnology until 2015. He is currently Director of the Lehigh Nano/Human Interfaces Presidential Research Initiative.

Dr. Harmer has supervised 65 Ph.D. students and 25 post-doctoral researchers and published over 300 papers. His research has focused on understanding the fundamental mechanisms of interfacial transport and microstructure development in inorganic materials. His work has led to fundamental discoveries about the nature of grain boundaries, including the breakthrough experimental discovery that grain boundaries exhibit phase-like behavior (called "grain boundary complexions"), which has provided new insight into long-standing mysteries in material science, such as the origin of abnormal grain growth in ceramics and the cause of grain boundary embrittlement in metal alloys. He has received numerous awards including the American Ceramic Society's Distinguished Life Member Award, the W. David Kingery Lifetime Achievement Award, and the Robert B. Sosman Lecture Award.

Harmer is a United States Coast Guard Licensed Merchant Marine Officer and the Captain of a 39ft sportfishing vessel called the "Cheeky Monkey III".

Series Materials Research Lecture Series

Contact: Jennifer Blankenship