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Jain awarded glass science lecture award

Himanshu Jain was awarded the 2017 Darshana and Arun Varshneya Frontiers of Glass Science Lecture from the Glass & Optical Materials Division of The American Ceramic Society (ACerS).

The award was presented in May at the 12th Pacific Rim Conference on Glasses and Ceramics, along with the ACerS Glass and Optical Materials annual meeting, at the Hilton Waikoloa Resort in Waikoloa, Hawaii.

Included with the award is an engraved crystal Durham barrel vase, a framed certificate, and a travel stipend of up to $2,500.

Jain’s talk, “Pathways of glass-crystal transformation,” is part of the ACerS lecture series focusing on advances in the basic science of glass. The talks are designed to encourage scientific and technical dialog in glass topics of significance that define new horizons, highlight new research concepts, and/or demonstrate the potential to develop products and processes for the benefit of society.

Lecture, demonstration, and award ceremony photos

Jain’s lecture included a demonstration showing how candy glass may transform to crystal in real time. “I started making the glass just before the talk and let the audience watch formation of crystal in a series of samples with varying ratio of glass former (sucrose) to glass modifier (water),” explained Jain. “At the end, the audience, comprising of glass experts, was challenged to explain why only the candy with intermediate water content showed transformation to crystal.”

Sean McAnany, graduate student in materials science at Lehigh and advised by Jain, assisted with the experiment.

“The demonstration exemplified the power of exploring simple questions with persistent, detailed observations,” continued Jain. “The whole research project started by a simple question that my daughter, Isha, asked when she was in 5th grade: ‘What makes a candy chewy or hard?’ We explored this question together for a few years – in fact, she presented a poster at a similar ACerS/Glass and Optical Materials Division conference held in 2004. By the way, 17 years later, Isha defended her doctorate in the week after my lecture, citing how that experience turned her into a scientist!”

Slides Jain used in his lecture from his daughter Isha’s work 13 years ago

Jain is the T.L. Diamond Distinguished Chair in engineering and applied science, and professor of materials science and engineering at Lehigh University. An author of six patents and over 360 research publications, he is the editor or author of nine books on glass science and technology. Over the past three decades, he has focused on introducing new functionality and novel processing of glass through fundamentals and making glass education available freely worldwide.

Jain is a recipient of the Otto Schott Research international prize for his “jellyfish” model of atomic fluctuations in glass, the Zachariasen international award for outstanding contribution to glass research through the discovery of isotope mass effect in lithium transport in glass, the Alfred University’s Scholes Lecture award for the development of active glasses, Lehigh’s Libsch award for research and the Hillman award for long-term excellence, the Fulbright Fellowship for lecturing and research at Cambridge and Aberdeen universities in UK, and a Humboldt Fellowship for research in Germany. Jain is a Fellow of the American Ceramic Society.

Photo credits: ACerS

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