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Ceramic Scientist Publishes Textbook on Crystal Chemistry

Monday, January 29, 2018

A new textbook aimed at upper level students studying materials science and engineering is based on the lectures of the late Robert Newnham, a legendary Penn State professor and inventor who was responsible for the transducers used in cardiac ultrasound and many other advances in ceramic science and engineering.

"Dr. Newnham was considered one of the master teachers at the university, and possibly one of the best teachers in the entire field of ceramics," said his colleague and former student Susan Trolier-McKinstry, the Steward S. Flaschen Professor of Materials Science and Engineering and Electrical Engineering at Penn State. "His goal when he retired was to write books based on the courses he had taught for many years."

Newnham produced the first book, based on his crystal physics lectures, which was published by Oxford University Press in 2005. In 2006, Trolier-McKinstry began working with Newnham on a second book, based on his lectures in crystal chemistry, which became the new textbook. As Newnham became too ill to complete the book, he asked Trolier-McKinstry to carry on and see it through to publication. The result is Materials Engineering - Bonding, Structure, and Structure-Property Relationships, recently published by Cambridge University Press.

"This book's strength is that it couples crystal structure to properties," she said. "There really aren't good textbooks out there that answer both why materials have the structure they have and why they have the properties they have. And that's unfortunate." Collaborating with Cambridge University Press, Trolier-McKinstry was able to keep the price of the textbook affordable for students, something that was important to both her and Dr. Newnham, she said.

Twelve years after beginning this project, Robert Newnham's lectures will find a new audience in classrooms around the world.

"I promised him I would finish it, and I did, finally."

For more information on this text book, please visit »