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Former MSE professor to deliver inaugural lecture in new series at NC State

Dr. Davis (Photo: submitted)
Dr. Davis (Photo: submitted)

A former North Carolina State University engineering professor whose semiconductor research has received international recognition will kick off a lecture series named in his honor by delivering the first annual Robert F. Davis Distinguished Lecture on April 14.

Davis’ lecture will begin at 3 p.m. in the auditorium at the Biotechnology Training and Education Center (BTEC) on NC State’s Centennial Campus. A reception will follow in nearby Engineering Building I.

Davis’ topic will be “Solid State Lighting: Current Status and the Impact of the Technology on Energy Utilization and Environmental Conditions.” In addition to describing his own pioneering efforts to develop energy-efficient solid-state lighting, he plans to show how conventional lighting promotes environmental pollution and climate change by generating far more waste heat than usable light.

Davis plans to aim his address at a lay audience as well as at scientists and engineers. He plans to review some of the obstacles researchers face in developing solid-state devices that will produce sufficient illumination for intense lighting applications while matching the light wavelengths pleasing to the human eye, and he will discuss how these issues are being addressed.

Davis was NC State’s first Kobe Steel Ltd. Distinguished Professor of Materials Science and Engineering. After retiring in 2004 as professor emeritus, Davis moved to Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh to become John and Clare Bertucci Distinguished Professor of Materials Science and Engineering, the position he currently occupies.

A native of Liberty, NC, Davis holds two degrees in ceramic engineering — a bachelor’s from NC State and a master’s from Pennsylvania State University. He received a PhD in materials science and engineering from the University of California at Berkeley.

In 2009, Davis won the John Bardeen Award for Research in Electronic Materials from the Minerals, Metals and Materials Society (TMS), and he received the 2006 International Prize awarded by the Japan Fine Ceramics Association. A member of the National Academy of Engineering and a fellow of the American Ceramic Society, Davis is a recipient of the society’s the Richard M. Fulrath Memorial Award. He has also been named Collegiate Inventor of the Year. While at NC State, he won numerous awards, including the Alexander Q. Holladay Award for Excellence in Teaching, Research and Outreach and the R.J. Reynolds Award for Excellence in Teaching, Research and Outreach.

The second Davis Lecture, featuring a distinguished scientist yet to be chosen, will be held in spring 2011.