University of Tennessee Professor Named to National Academy of Engineering

Election to the NAE is among the highest professional distinctions accorded to an engineer.

Article ID: 613442

Released: 6-Feb-2014 3:00 PM EST

Source Newsroom: University of Tennessee

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Newswise — George Pharr, Chancellor's Professor in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and Joint Faculty Scientist in the Materials Science and Technology Division at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, has been named to the National Academy of Engineering. He becomes the fifth NAE member in the College of Engineering.

Election to the NAE is among the highest professional distinctions accorded to an engineer. Academy membership honors those who have made outstanding contributions to engineering research, practice or education and to the pioneering of new and developing fields of technology, making major advancements in traditional fields of engineering, or developing and implementing innovative approaches to engineering education.

Pharr, who is also director of the UT-ORNL Joint Institute for Advanced Materials and McKamey Professor of Engineering, has been elected for his "development of methods for determining mechanical properties of materials by nanoindentation."

"George is most deserving of this membership," said UT Chancellor Jimmy G. Cheek. "He has made great contributions to his field, the classroom, and to UT and ORNL as director of JIAM. This honor is a reflection of the world-class scientist that he is."

Pharr studies nanoscale materials for uses in high strength materials for energy production and storage, electronics, modern medicine, computer hard drives and everyday products. He is an expert in the mechanical behavior of materials, nanoindentation—tests that examine the mechanical properties of small volumes of materials—and small-scale mechanical behavior.

Pharr is also a fellow of the Materials Research Society and the American Society of Materials International. He has served as editor of numerous academic journals and is the recipient of several awards, including the 2010 Materials Research Society Innovation in Materials Characterization Award, the 2007 Humboldt Research Award for Senior U.S .Scientists and the 1995 Amoco Teaching Award at Rice University.

Pharr received his bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering at Rice University and his doctorate in Materials Science and Engineering from Stanford University.

"George is a leader in the materials science field nationally and internationally," said Wayne Davis, dean of the College of Engineering. "His research and ideas have served to inspire other faculty and his students."

Other UT NAE members include Mark Dean, John Fisher Distinguished Professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science; Jack Dongarra, distinguished professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science; Ramamoorthy Ramesh, UT-Oak Ridge National Laboratory Governor's Chair for Nanomaterials Engineering; and Steve Zinkle, UT-ORNL Governor's Chair for Nuclear Materials.

The NAE elected 67 U.S. members and 11 associates this year. This brings the total U.S. NAE membership to 2,250 and the number of foreign associates to 214.

The National Academy of Engineering, founded in 1964, aims to advance the well-being of the nation by promoting a vibrant engineering profession. For more information, visit


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