Dr. Richard J. Spontak, alumni distinguished professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering and materials science and engineering at North Carolina State University, has been awarded the Colwyn Medal from the Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining for his seminal research involving thermoplastic elastomer systems. He will be recognized in October at the institute’s annual awards ceremony in the United Kingdom.
The institute awards the Colwyn Medal every two years for outstanding service to the rubber industry of a scientific, technical or engineering character. The organization is a major United Kingdom engineering institution that promotes and develops all aspects of materials science and engineering and serves as a leading authority in the worldwide materials and mining community.
Before joining the NC State faculty in 1992, Spontak worked as a research scientist with Procter and Gamble. He has authored or co-authored more than 250 peer-reviewed publications, and his work has been featured on 16 international journal covers and one book. He is the recipient of an Alumni Outstanding Research Award, the 2007 Ernst Ruska Prize of the German Electron Microscopy Society, and the American Chemical Society’s 2006 Cooperative Research Award in Polymer Science and 2008 Chemistry of Thermoplastic Elastomers Award. He is a fellow of the American Physical Society and sits on several editorial advisory boards. A member of the NC State Academy of Outstanding Teachers, Spontak received the College of Engineering’s 2003 Blessis Award and the 2008 University of North Carolina Board of Governors’ Award for Teaching Excellence.
Spontak earned his BS from the Pennsylvania State University in 1983 and his PhD from the University of California at Berkeley in 1988, both in chemical engineering. He then pursued post-doctoral studies at the University of Cambridge in England and the Institute for Energy Technology in Norway. His research interests include multifunctional and nanostructured polymers, polymer morphology and phase stability, and application of microscopy techniques to polymer science and engineering.