STILLPOINT Archive: last updated 08/21/2007
Story Ashley Hopkins
Photo Cyndi McMahon
Read Dr. Lee's article, "Metallic Glasses: A Material of Interest"
Since receiving his Ph.D. and M.S.E. in applied physics from the California Institute of Technology (following his B.S. in engineering-physics from Princeton University), Gordon's newest associate professor of physics, David Lee, has managed space shuttle experiments for NASA; studied the metastable thermodynamics and kinetics of a family of bulk amorphous metals at Liquidmetal® Technologies; and directed the development efforts for discovery of novel functional inorganic materials. Lee holds six U.S. patents, loves opera and fiction, and eagerly awaits the day his daughter can join him and his wife fly fishing for trout.
When this well-rounded professor is asked what drives him in his research, he says, "I'm interested generally in the properties of materials--why is a particular material hard or amorphous or superconducting or tough? Can we understand the underlying phenomena well enough to make it harder or nanocrystalline or a better superconductor or tougher? In materials science, there is tight coupling between theoretical understanding and its practical outworking and application: If there is a hypothesized improvement, someone will try it out in the lab. The continual feedback between the intellectual pursuit of understanding material behavior and better real performance is exciting."
In 2005 that interest in materials led him to Golf Digest, where he was tapped to join their technical advisory panel that selects the products featured in the sought-after Equipment Hot List issue. Among the six scientists on the panel, Lee is the self-described "materials physics geek." They discuss the latest technological developments in golf clubs and analyze manufacturers' claims. "It's a fun couple of days," Lee says, "and a chance to apply physics and materials head knowledge to a very different arena from academics or our scholarly research."
Lee is pleased about his move to Gordon. "My family and I are blessed to be part of this community," he says, "I am excited about the rapid and deep revitalization of our 3-2 preengineering program and the related commitment to and vision for physics here. I look forward to participating in God's unfolding plan for Gordon."