Professor Willson Named Materials Research Society Fellow

Professor Grant WillsonGrant Willson, chemical engineering and chemistry professor and the Rashid Engineering Regents Chair, has recently been named Fellow of the Materials Research Society (MRS).  Induction as an MRS Fellow is highly selective as new appointments are limited to just .2 percent of the current MRS membership each year. 

This honor is bestowed upon MRS members who are notable for their distinguished research accomplishments and outstanding contributions to the advancement of materials research world-wide. The honor recognizes a career’s worth of achievement in materials science and engineering and is a lifetime appointment.

“Grant is the real thing: someone who comes up with successful new technologies,” said George Whitesides, a Harvard University professor and one of Willson’s three nominators. “His inventions and innovations have remade the world.  He has, in this sense, been among the most successful materials scientists of his time, in terms of his influence on society using materials.  Willson is most known for his invention of chemically amplified photoresists, which helped revolutionize the microelectronics industry and today, essentially form the basis for manufacturing of all microcircuits.

“I am very proud to say that essentially, all of today’s modern computer chips are being manufactured with materials that were developed in our laboratories,” said Willson.  “The work our researchers do is significant because without the material and the processes they have developed, the computers and cellphones we use today would be larger and more expensive than they are.”

In 2008 Willson was presented with the National Medal of Technology and Innovation, the nation’s highest honor for science and technology, from President George W. Bush at the White House.  He received the honor for the creation of novel lithographic imaging materials and techniques that have enabled the manufacturing of smaller, faster, and more efficient microelectronic components that have improved the competitiveness of the U.S. microelectronics industry.

“Industry is always striving to manufacture smaller and cheaper devices and when they run into bottlenecks getting to the next,  smaller generation of product, we’ve been able to help provide the materials necessary to help make it happen,” said Willson.

Today, Willson has over two dozen issued patents and almost 500 publications.  His research can be characterized as the design and synthesis of functional organic materials with emphasis on materials for microelectronics. He received his B.S. and Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry from the University of California at Berkeley and an M.S. degree in Organic Chemistry from San Diego State University.

The MRS will officially induct Willson during the 2012 MRS spring meeting April 9-13 in San Francisco.

About MRS:

MRS is an international organization of almost 16,000 materials researchers from academia, industry and government, and a recognized leader in promoting the advancement of interdisciplinary materials research to improve the quality of life.

MRS members are engaged and enthusiastic professionals hailing from physics, chemistry, biology, mathematics and engineering — the full spectrum of materials research. Headquartered in Warrendale, Pennsylvania, MRS membership now spans over 80 countries, with more than 40 percent of members residing outside the United States.

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