University of Rochester

Mechanical Engineer Wins Distinguished Teaching Award

October 11, 2007

The ASM International Materials Information Society has awarded Professor James C. M. Li, the Albert A. Hopeman Professor of Engineering at the University of Rochester, with this year's Albert Easton White Distinguished Teacher Award. The award is given to honor his long-standing and diverse contributions to materials science, as well as the enthusiasm and skill he brings to teaching.

"It is very easy for me to express a great admiration for the quality and quantity of work that Jim has done over 35 years of research and education in the field of materials science," says John C. Lambropoulos, chair of the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Rochester. "Not only are we all very proud of his sustained and seminal research, but we are all looking at him as an ideal example of a colleague who sets brilliant examples in outstanding research, considerate and mentoring attitude towards students, and a stellar example of service contributions both at the university but also at the national and international levels."

Li works on new catalysts for fuel cells to improve their durability and reduce costs. He is developing a material process for lightweight, high-temperature valves that will improve the efficiency of internal combustion engines. He also works on lead-free solders to avoid "whisker growth," a phenomenon which can cause electrical shorts and disable multi-million-dollar satellites. This project is supported by Sandia National Laboratory through Li's former student, Paul Vianco, principal scientist at Sandia, who is an expert on soldering.

Li earned his bachelor's degree from the National Central University in China in 1947, and his master's and doctoral degrees from the University of Washington in 1951 and 1953, respectively. He joined the University of Rochester in 1971 as the Albert A. Hopeman Professor of Engineering.

In his tenure at Rochester, Li has mentored more than 50 master's, doctoral, and postdoctoral students, and has published more than 350 papers, as well as many patents. Seven of his doctoral students still work within the Rochester area: at Xerox, Kodak, Delphi, and Pactiv. He is the recipient of the Institute of Metals Lecturer & Robert Franklin Award, which recognizes outstanding scientific leadership; the Champion H. Mathewson Gold Medal from the Metallurgical Society; the Acta Metallurgica Gold Medal from the American Society for Materials; has won the Senior Alexander von Humboldt Award, and has been elected to the National Academy of Engineering, one of the most prestigious honors in the engineering field.

With tens of thousands of members worldwide, the ASM uses conferences, seminars and symposia, partnering with other societies, reference collections and communications media, to make information about all facets of materials science available and usable.

The Albert Easton White Distinguished Teacher Award, established in 1960, recognizes unusually long and devoted service in teaching as well as significant accomplishments in materials science and engineering, and an unusual ability to inspire and impart enthusiasm to students.