[Pending] Nano*High - March 8, 2008: Rob Ritchie - "Why Things Break! A Focus on Disasters"

By Alexander S McLeod1, Jeffrey B. Neaton1, Jeffrey C Grossman2

1. University of California, Berkeley 2. Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Published on


Nano*High - March 8, 2008
Rob Ritchie - "
Why Things Break! A Focus on Disasters"

Have you ever wondered what exactly is going on when something breaks? No material is perfect, and defects and cracks are all around us. But what exactly does it take to break an object? Material scientists and understand that materials like steel and concrete behave differently depending on the conditions of their environment, and even a sudden change in temperature may be enough to weaken a ship or building! Characterizing the strengths and weaknesses of new materials is crucial to the development of nano-machines and to the future of nanotechnology


Robert O. Ritchie
Chair, Department of Materials Science and Engineering
H. T. & Jessie Chua Distinguished Professor of Engineering
Faculty Senior Scientist, Materials Sciences Division, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

Robert O. Ritchie was educated at Cambridge University in England where he received a B.A. degree in physics and metallurgy in 1969, M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in Materials Science in 1973, and the Doctor of Science (Sc.D.) degree in 1990. Following periods as the Goldsmith's Research Fellow in Materials Science at Churchill College, Cambridge (1972-1974) and as a Miller Research Fellow for Basic Research in Science at Berkeley (1974-1976), he joined the faculty in Mechanical Engineering at M.I.T. where he became the Class of 1922 Associate Professor in 1979. In 1981, he returned to Berkeley where he has been Professor of Materials Science since 1982; he was also Deputy Director of the Materials Sciences Division at the Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory from 1990 to 1994, and Director of the Center for Advanced Materials there from 1987 to 1995.

Prof. Ritchie is known for his research in the fields of fracture mechanics and fatigue-crack propagation, having published some 500 papers and edited 17 books in the technical literature. He is a Member of the National Academy of Engineering in the U.S. and a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering in the UK, and has been the recipient of several other awards, including the Mathewson Gold Medal from TMS-AIME in 1985, the George R. Irwin Medal from ASTM in 1985, the Rosenhain Medal from the Institute of Materials (London) in 1992, and the Nadai Medal from ASME in 2004. He was co-chairman of the Gordon Conference on Physical Metallurgy in 1992, President and Honorary Fellow of the International Congress on Fracture (1997-2001), and is a Fellow of TMS, the Institute of Materials (UK), the Institute of Physics and the American Society for Materials.

He teaches both undergraduate and graduate courses in the mechanical behavior of engineering materials, which are cross-listed in both the MSE and ME Departments.

Sponsored by

Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory - Materials Sciences Division
Sally Nasman, Organizer
Nano*High gratefully acknowledges QB3, the California Institute for Quantitative Biosystems for providing the lecture hall on the University of California Berkeley campus.

Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  • Alexander S McLeod; Jeffrey B. Neaton; Jeffrey C Grossman (2010), "Nano*High - March 8, 2008: Rob Ritchie - "Why Things Break! A Focus on Disasters"," https://nanohub.org/resources/8292.

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