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Dave Williams - Reflections on Microscopy & Analysis

Reflections on Microscopy & Analysis:
From Viewing the Small World to Leading on a Larger Stage


Dave Williams

David B. Williams
The Ohio State University
Columbus, OH


By some standards, I have had a successful career as a professor and an administrator, spanning the range from assistant professor to president of a Carnegie Tier I research university. I was honored to receive the "Henry Clifton Sorby Lifetime Achievement Award" of the International Metallographic Society at the recent IMS/MAS/MSA meeting in Nashville. The word "lifetime" is a somewhat sobering adjective, and it prompted me to think what in fact had I learned in my professional lifetime that might be of use to others, particularly to young academics and researchers just starting on their careers. So, in the talk I will discuss my thoughts on how one can have a useful career as an electron microscopist and a university administrator and the lessons learned from both sides, which occasionally feed off one another.

Dr. David B. Williams is the 23rd Dean of The College of Engineering at The Ohio State University, a leading research institution and one of the nation’s most distinguished land-grant universities. As Dean, Williams is responsible for the strategic vision, mission and goals of the college, oversees the education of more than 8,000 undergraduate and graduate students, and leads the administration of 1,200 faculty, research scientists and staff. Faculty in the College of Engineering expended over $120 million in research in FY 2010, and the College graduated 296 MS degree students and 128 PhD degree students in the 2009-2010 academic year.

Drawing on his extensive collaborative experience, Dean Williams continues to create partnerships between the university, the Central Ohio community, and regional and national partners including Battelle, Boeing, GE, GM, Honda, NetJets and NASA Glenn. With his background in research, he is working to increase funding for Ohio State’s many internationally recognized research centers. Williams is accomplished at managing complex organizations under financial constraints and developing universities as engines of economic growth. He has a robust history of fundraising in the public and private sectors, bringing financial support to realize the institution’s strategic goals.

A native of Leeds, England, Williams holds B.A., M.A., Ph.D., and Sc.D. degrees from the University of Cambridge. He served as the fifth president of the University of Alabama in Huntsville from 2007 to 2011. As president, he was instrumental in leading UAHuntsville into the Carnegie Foundation Tier One research classification through the hiring of several eminent scholars, the opening of the first office for Oak Ridge National Laboratory on any U.S. campus, and the creation of pioneering research collaborations such as one with Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne to create a “Skunk Works” on the UAHuntsville campus.

Before joining UA Huntsville, Williams spent 31 years at Lehigh University in Bethlehem, PA, where he was the Harold Chambers Senior Professor of Materials Science and Engineering. His research and administrative experiences were strongly supported by many federal agencies, including NSF, DOE, NASA and the U.S. Army. From 1980 to 1998, he directed Lehigh’s Electron Microscope Laboratory and the Lehigh Microscopy School, long considered the world leader in electron microscopy education. He chaired Lehigh’s Materials Science and Engineering Department from 1992 to 2000 and was Vice Provost for Research from 2000-2007. He is a fellow of five materials and microscopy professional societies, has authored or coauthored 11 textbooks including the leading TEM text in the world (with C. Barry Carter), has published over 400 papers and given almost 300 invited talks in 28 countries.

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