Wuttig Honored at National Meeting of the Materials Research Society

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"I've always been, and still am, impressed with [Professor Wuttig's] vast and broad knowledge, his eye for original ideas and research questions, [and] also his ability to see the critical points in one's reasoning, which makes live meetings like the MRS symposium still worthwhile attending."

Professor Dominique (Nick) Schryvers, University of Antwerp, CGB.

Clark School Department of Materials Science and Engineering Professor Manfred Wuttig was the guest of honor at a symposium celebrating both his distinguished career and 80th birthday at the national meeting of the Materials Research Society (MRS), held in San Francisco, Ca. in April 2013.

The two-part symposium, “Celebrating Manfred Wuttig’s 80th Birthday I: Exploring Ferroic Materials and Elastocaloric Cooling” and “Celebrating Manfred Wuttig’s 80th Birthday II: Oxides and Adaptive Phases,” featured a full roster of presentations delivered by friends and colleagues from around the world. Speakers included MSE professor Alexander Roytburd, MSE adjunct professor Jun Cui (Pacific Northwest National Lab), former MSE professor Ramamoorthy Ramesh (University of California, Berkeley), and MSE alumnus and former Wuttig group member Shenqiang Ren (Ph.D. ’09), now a professor at the University of Kansas.

"It just made perfect sense to use the MRS symposium as the venue to celebrate Manfred's birthday and to honor his legacy in materials science," says MSE professor Ichiro Takeuchi, who co-chaired the symposium. "We invited a number of speakers who worked with Manfred as close colleagues, mentees, and advisees, and their talks were all great tributes to his lifelong achievements."

"Manfred Wuttig has always been an outstanding scientist with truly innovative ideas, contributing [to] excellent research on smart materials and multiferroics for the last 20 years," says longtime colleague Professor Eckhard Quandt, head of Inorganic Functional Materials at Christian Albrechts Universität, Kiel, Germany. "My collaboration with Manfred is truly characterized by team spirit, reliability, and friendship, something for which I am very grateful."

Wuttig, who earned his Dr. -Ing. in physics and metallurgy from the Technische Hochschule Dresden and Technische Universität in Berlin, Germany in 1958, is an internationally recognized expert in the fields of ferromagnetic, ferroelectric and ferroelastic materials; reversible phase transformations, mutiferroics, magnetoelectrics, and nanomagnetism.

Before coming to Maryland, Wuttig was a physics lecturer at Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt, Berlin; a research associate at the Gauss Ingenieur Schule, Berlin; a professor in the Department of Metallurgy at both the University of Illinois and the University of Missouri–Rolla; and Director of the National Science Foundation's Metallurgy Program. He joined the University of Maryland's then-Department of Chemical and Nuclear Engineering in 1986, where he was the director of the Graduate Program in Materials Science, and in1992 became the first Acting Chair of the then-Department of Materials and Nuclear Engineering. He has served as MSE's graduate program director since the late 1990s.

Wuttig's recent and current research projects include the synthesis and characterization of magnetoelectric composites, organic multiferroics for spintronics, and the study of alloys with magnetostrictive properties. He has also been involved in the development of an all solid-state, elastocaloric cooling technology based on latent heat generated by the martensitic transition (change in crystal structure) of shape memory alloys, for which he, Takeuchi and Cui won the University of Maryland's Physical Sciences Invention of the Year in 2011. The highly-efficient system could potentially replace vapor-compression based air conditioners and refrigerators, which utilize hydroflourocarbons and hydro flourochlorocarbons (such as Freon) that are harmful to the environment.

"Manfred is my lifetime advisor and mentor," says Ren. "I’ve learned a lot from him about how to [explain] profound concepts in a simple, efficient and straightforward way. His scientific passion and mentoring legacy have made a tremendous impact on my life. "

"Manfred was the best researcher that I ever worked with," adds Dwight Viehland, a professor of materials science and engineering at Virginia Tech. "I began working with him nearly 30 years ago, on my senior thesis as an undergraduate [at U.Miss.-Rolla]. He was patient, kind, and nurturing. He taught me most of what I know. I am forever indebted to him."

"Manfred Wuttig is a great teacher and inspiration for the [materials] community," says Kaushik Bhattacharya, the Howell N. Tyson, Sr. Professor of Mechanics and Professor of Materials Science at Caltech. "He combines an encyclopedic knowledge with an amazingly open-minded and creative way of thinking."

Wuttig's academic and research prowess are not the only things his friends and colleagues appreciate. "Aside [from] learning science from him, Manfred showed me how to appreciate life," says Cui. "Actually, I didn't know Pilsner Urquell until he got me one and explained the history of pilsner. Now, Urquell is my all-time favorite."

Published April 10, 2013