A $2 million gift from Sumitomo Electric Industries, Ltd., of Osaka, Japan, has established an engineering professorship at MIT and made possible the creation of a lecture series and prize honoring an MIT pioneer in electronic materials.
The first MIT professor to hold the Sumitomo Electric Industries Professorship in Engineering is Dr. Harry L. Tuller of the Department of Materials Science and Engineering, director of the Crystal Physics and Optical Electronics Laboratory. He is internationally recognized for his work on the development and characterization of electrically and optically active ceramics and glasses and their applications to energy conversion, electronic devices, and sensor technology. He has been a member of the MIT faculty since 1975.
Professor Emeritus Harry C. Gatos is the pioneering MIT materials scientist whose contributions have been recognized in connection with the Sumitomo gift by the creation of the Harry C. Gatos Distinguished Lecture and Prize in Materials Science and Engineering. The initial lectures were given in December by Dr. Tsuneo Nakahara, vice chairman and deputy chief executive officer of Sumitomo Electric Industries, Ltd., and by Professor
Gatos. The topics covered included "From Materials to Components Supporting Modern System Technologies" and "The Vacuum Tube to Solid State Electronics Transformation," respectively.
The announcements were made by Dean of Engineering Joel Moses, the D.C. Jackson Professor of Computer Science and Engineering, and Merton C. Flemings, head of the Department of Materials Science and Engineering, who is Toyota Professor of Materials Processing.
"In light of the long-standing relationship between MIT and Sumitomo Electric Industries, a relationship which Professor Gatos originated, it is fitting that the first holder of the Sumitomo Professorship be a member of the Department of Materials Science and Engineering," Dean Moses and Professor Flemings said.
Professor Gatos, a member of the MIT faculty for nearly three decades, played a key role in the development of the science of electronic materials, especially gallium arsenide. In 1962 he formed the first Electronic Materials Group within a materials department. For some years it was the only academic group devoted to the study and establishment of relationships among crystal growth parameters, structural and chemical composition, and electronic properties. During this work, Professor Gatos formed a close association with Sumitomo Electric Industries, also a pioneer in the development and application of advanced materials.
The Gatos Lecture and a $5,000 prize will be awarded, generally every two years, to an individual who has contributed significantly to the advancement of the field of materials science and engineering. The recipient will be selected by a committee consisting of the heads of the Department of Materials Science and Engineering and the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, and a senior materials science faculty member, initially Professor Gatos.
A version of this article appeared in the April 1, 1992 issue of MIT Tech Talk (Volume 36, Number 25).