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UVA’s Dr. Robert Hull Head Rensselaer’s Materials Science and Engineering

by Editor1 last modified November 17, 2007 - 12:32

Noted nanomaterials researcher Dr. Robert Hull will join Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in early 2008 to head its School of Engineering’s Department of Materials Science and Engineering. Dr. Hull makes the move after 13 years as a leading nanoscientist at the University of Virginia.

UVA’s Dr. Robert Hull Head Rensselaer’s Materials Science and Engineering

Dr. Robert Hull will head Rensselaer’s materials sciences and engineering department in early 2008, where he intends to grow students and faculty.

As head of Rensselaer’s materials sciences and engineering department, Dr. Hull intends to grow the number of materials science students and faculty at Rensselaer and further solidify the department’s reputation for innovation and excellence. He will continue this pursuit at Rensselaer, but as department head he will also aim to grow both the size and stature of the materials science department, attracting talented new faculty and students.

“Materials science and engineering is a long-established discipline that is evolving in many exciting ways,” Dr. Hull said. “At Rensselaer, the department has established excellence, it benefits from name recognition, and I think we’re going to see significant growth in both size and stature.”

Dr. Hull is noted for his research into fundamental growth mechanisms of semiconductor films and nanostructures, and for his work in exploring potential applications of these structures to future nanoelectronic devices. His research has also focused on relationships between structure and property in electronic materials, fundamental mechanisms of thin film growth, and the self-assembly of nanoscale structures.

Dr. Hill’s other interests include degradation modes in electronic and optoelectronic devices, the properties of dislocations in semiconductors, nanoscale fabrication techniques, nanoscale tomographic reconstruction techniques, development of new nanoelectronic architectures, and the theory and application of electron and ion beams.

Hill’s Focus on Collaborative Nanoscience Research
Dr. Hull also said he is looking to increase collaborations between materials science and other departments, challenging his colleagues to look at old problems from new perspectives and take advantage of Rensselaer’s diverse pool of expertise and intellectual capital.

“We really have an opportunity to grow the department, for example at the interface between materials science and biology,” he said. “There is so much expansion at Rensselaer in biology, biotechnology, and bioengineering, and I’m very excited about the role materials science can play to advance these areas.”

He also emphasizes that there are several other cross-institutional fields where the Department of Materials Science and Engineering can make major contributions to academic leadership, including nanomaterials, new energy technologies, and computational science.

Dr. Hull will also be named as the Henry Burlage Professor of Materials Science and Engineering at Rensselaer.

The dean of Rensselaer’s School of Engineering Alan Cramb expressed his excitement over Dr. Hull’s arrival in a statement.

“Our materials science and engineering department is known for making breakthrough discoveries and international headlines, and Professor Hull is the ideal leader to take this success to the next level,” Dean Cramb said. “Robert is a gifted researcher, a strong teacher, and he has a clear vision for the department. I look forward to working with him.”

Dr. Hull comes to Rensselaer from the University of Virginia, where he directed UVA’s Institute for Nanoscale and Quantum Science and its Materials Research Science and Engineering Center. Dr. Hull was also the Charles Henderson Professor of Engineering in UVA’s Department of Materials Science and Engineering.

Hull received his Bachelor’s degree in physics from Oxford University in 1980, and went on to earn his Doctorate in materials science from Oxford in 1983. For the following 10 years, he worked as a researcher at AT&T Bell Laboratories and Hewlett Packard Laboratories, including a visiting associate professorship as the NEC Chair at the University of Tokyo in Japan. Hull joined UVA in 1994, and was promoted to a full professor in 1999.

In the summer of 2000, Hull took leadership of UVA’s Materials Research Science and Engineering Center. Two years later, he was named the Charles Henderson Professor of Engineering and director of the UVA Institute for Nanoscale and Quantum Science. He also held a joint appointment in the university’s Department of Electrical Engineering.

Along with an extensive list of published articles, Hull is active in engineering and materials science societies and professional groups. He is a fellow of the American Physical Society, a member of the European Academy of Sciences, and in 1997 served as president of the Materials Research Society. In 1993 he chaired the Gordon Research Conference on Thin Films and in 1999, chaired the Committee of Visitors for the National Science Foundation’s Division of Materials Research.