MSE Chair JC Zhao Receives Prestigious William Hume-Rothery Award

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JC Zhao, Minta Martin Professor and Materials Science and Engineering (MSE) Chair at the University of Maryland (UMD), is the 2021 recipient of the William Hume-Rothery Award bestowed by The Minerals, Metals and Materials Society (TMS).

"This award is presented annually to recognize a scientific leader for exceptional scholarly contributions to the science of alloys," according to TMS. The award is announced two years in advance in order to organize a dedicated symposium in honor of the recipient’s lifetime professional achievements. The symposium and award ceremony for Professor Zhao will be held at the 150th TMS Annual Meeting in Orlando, Florida, March 7 - 11, 2021.

The William Hume-Rothery Award is one of the highest awards of the materials science and engineering profession in the area of metals. Zhao was recognized "for development of groundbreaking methodologies for systematic measurements of phase-based properties for the understanding of a very large number of alloy systems."

Dr. Zhao joined UMD College Park in July 2019 from The Ohio State University, with prior experience at Department of Energy Advanced Research Projects Agency – Energy (ARPA-E) and GE Global Research Center (GEGR). He pioneered the development of a diffusion-multiple approach that enables rapid and systematic mapping of phase diagrams, diffusion coefficients and several other key materials properties. Phase diagrams are 'maps' materials scientists often employ to design new alloys. Professor Zhao and his collaborators have developed more than 70 such maps for various alloy systems. His group also developed a forward-simulation analysis to allow efficient and reliable extraction of a very large number of diffusion coefficients which are essential parameters to describe how fast different atoms mix to form alloys.

In addition to the development of groundbreaking methodologies, Professor Zhao is also credited for introducing a computational thermodynamics tool – Thermo-Calc – to GE in 1996 and spent several years applying it to accelerate alloy design. Using Thermo-Calc and data analysis, his team successfully demonstrated computational alloy design without the need for iterative and expensive experiments on different alloys compositions for the first time for gas turbine materials, substantially shortening the development time. Dr. Zhao is a co-inventor on 48 issued US patents, most of which cover new alloys and processes.

“I am deeply honored to be selected to receive the 2021 TMS William Hume-Rothery Award," said Zhao. "The Award is a heartfelt recognition of my collaborators and my students who aspired to invent new methods to accelerate data gathering for numerous important alloy systems and to perform more systematic study of the science of alloys. It is incredibly heartening for me to have my name associated with previous winners and the great pioneer of alloy science, Professor William Hume-Rothery. This Award inspires me to continue inventing new methodologies and collecting more critical data to help design new alloys to address the societal needs for better environment and joyful living.”

“The UMD A. James Clark School of Engineering is excited to have Professor Zhao as the new Materials Science and Engineering Chair,” said Robert Briber, MSE Professor and Associate Dean for Research for the College. "The William Hume-Rothery Award is a testament to the groundbreaking research Professor Zhao has done during his career and we look forward to more exciting things to come."


Published November 15, 2019