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Radiation Expert Weber Named Eighth UT-ORNL Governor’s Chair

Category: Research

KNOXVILLE – William Weber, an authority in the ways radiation interacts with materials, has been named the eighth University of Tennessee-Oak Ridge National Laboratory Governor’s Chair.

Weber will serve in the department of materials science and engineering at UT Knoxville and in ORNL’s materials science and technology division.

He currently is a laboratory fellow and team leader at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), where he has served as a researcher since 1977.

“The Governor’s Chair program has given us the capability to recruit absolutely top-tier scientists to our faculty, and that is having a dramatic impact on attracting interest and support for the university, both academically and financially,” UT Interim President Jan Simek said. “Adding the eighth participant will only further enhance our momentum going forward.”

Weber will serve as the Governor’s Chair for radiation effects on materials.

Funded by the state of Tennessee and ORNL, the program attracts top scientists to broaden and enhance the unique research partnership that exists between the state’s flagship university and the nation’s largest multi-program laboratory.

“I’m pleased to see this program is continuing to meet its goal of bringing some of the world’s best minds to Tennessee,” said Gov. Phil Bredesen. “The momentum that began with the appointment of six chairs last year alone continues with the naming of yet another accomplished scientist who will further expand the portfolio of expertise the program is bringing to our state. The ability of these exceptional individuals to attract economic activity, research dollars and additional researchers for scientific collaboration is achieving exactly what was envisioned for the Governor’s Chair program.”

For more than three decades, Weber has worked to learn more about the complicated interactions between radiation and ceramic materials. He uses both direct measurement of materials and extremely powerful computer simulations to understand how radiation affects ceramics. The research has broad applications, touching areas from nuclear energy to environmental remediation and even space exploration.

“William Weber brings his expertise to bear on an issue that is at the heart of our energy future,” said UT Knoxville Chancellor Jimmy G. Cheek. “The knowledge generated by his work serves as a catalyst for innovation, which will in turn continue to enhance UT Knoxville’s role as a leader in this important field.”

Weber has been a particularly prolific researcher, and has published more research than all but one scientist in the more than 45-year history of PNNL. Weber is the editor or co-editor of five conference proceedings, and the author or co-author of more than 320 journal articles, seven book chapters, 108 peer-reviewed conference papers and 53 technical reports.

As a Governor’s Chair, Weber will have the opportunity to further his research by taking advantage of the exceptional resources and expertise available at both UT Knoxville and ORNL.

“ORNL’s longstanding leadership in advanced materials science is founded on the interaction of radiation and materials. William Weber’s added expertise in computational simulations is a great fit for the laboratory and this field of research,” said ORNL Director Thom Mason.

Weber has spent his entire career with PNNL, where he also served until recently as chair of the PNNL Council of Fellows, chair of the PNNL Publication Advisory Committee and manager of the PNNL Laboratory Fellows Initiative. He received his bachelor’s degree in physics from the University of Wisconsin, Oshkosh, and his master’s degree and doctorate, both in nuclear engineering, from the University of Wisconsin, Madison.

About the Governor’s Chair program:

The UT-ORNL Governor’s Chair program is designed to attract exceptionally accomplished researchers from around the world to boost joint research efforts that position the partnership as a leader in the fields of biological science, computational science, advanced materials and neutron science.

Other UT-ORNL Governor’s Chairs include:

  • Jeremy Smith, a computational biologist who came to UT Knoxville and ORNL from the University of Heidelberg in Germany. He was appointed in 2006.
  • Howard Hall, an expert in nuclear security who came to UT Knoxville and ORNL from Lawrence Livermore National Lab. He was appointed this in 2009.
  • Alexei Sokolov, a polymer scientist who came to UT Knoxville and ORNL from the University of Akron. He was appointed in 2009.
  • Yilu Liu, an electric grid researcher who came to UT Knoxville and ORNL from Virginia Tech. She was appointed in 2009.
  • Thomas Zawodzinski, an energy storage researcher who came to UT Knoxville and ORNL from Case Western Reserve University. He was appointed in 2009.
  • Frank Loeffler, a biologist and environmental engineer who came to UT Knoxville and ORNL from Georgia Tech. He was appointed in 2009.
  • Robert Williams, genetics and biomedical researcher at the UT Health Science Center and ORNL. He was appointed in 2009.
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Category: Research