- THE MAGAZINE
Robert L. Snyder, Ph.D., who taught at Alfred University from 1970 to 1996, will deliver the annual John F. McMahon Lecture at 11:20 a.m. October 25 in Holmes Auditorium, Harder Hall, on the Alfred University campus. Snyder, who is now professor and chair of the School of Materials and Engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology, has chosen “The New World of MSE: Nano and Bio Technology” as the topic for the McMahon Lecture.
“The two most important events in materials science and engineering in the past 50 years have been the introduction of surface free energy as a tool for creating new materials, and the cracking of the genetic code of the entire biosphere,” said Snyder, explaining his topic. “These two events are intertwined at the most fundamental level in that the key to the assembly of complex nanomachines lies within each of our cells. The ribosome has done its evolutionary job of getting us to 2007 and it’s now time to turn this marvelous machine loose to manufacture materials and machines that have nothing to do with evolution.”
In his talk, Snyder said, he “will start with a fundamental examination of the nature of nanomaterials and show how Z.L. Wang has made many beautiful structures of ZnO. We will then turn to the applications of nanowires, nanobelts and carbon nanotubes and the making of field-effect transistors, lasers, self-cleaning surfaces, and nano-sized electrical generators. Lastly, I would like to explore applications of using the machinery of the living cell to manufacture nanostructures via biomimetics to use structures that already exist in nature. Nature provides elegant examples of organisms that generate three-dimensional structures with complex patterns from the macro-scale to the nano-scale.”
Snyder is the author of two textbooks, has edited nine technical books and has contributed chapters to nine books and encyclopedias. He holds eight patents and has published over 265 papers on materials and materials characterization that have been cited by other authors more than 2000 times.
The McMahon Lecture Award is presented annually by the Inamori School of Engineering in honor of John F. McMahon, who served as dean of the New York State College of Ceramics from 1949 to 1965. He was associated with the college for 68 years, first as student, then researcher, professor, division head, dean, curator and dean emeritus. McMahon also served as president of the American Ceramic Society and was among the founders of the Canadian Ceramic Society.
Visit www.alfred.edu for more information.