Newswise — UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – Bernhard Tittmann and S. Ashok, two long-time professors in the Penn State Department of Engineering Science and Mechanics (ESM), will retire from the University following the spring 2017 semester.

Tittmann joined the ESM department faculty in 1989 and was named Schell Professor of Engineering Science and Mechanics. He is also the director of the Engineering Nano Characterization Center, group leader of the Center for Acoustics and Vibration’s acoustic characterization of materials group, a faculty member of the Materials Research Institute and an affiliate faculty member of the Department of Materials Science and Engineering.

He has 475 publications, 3,355 citations and has coauthored 20 books. Tittmann also holds eight patents and has three patent disclosures.

In his 28 years with the department, Tittmann has supervised 36 graduate theses, including 11 doctoral and 25 master’s. He also received a Penn State Engineering Alumni Society (PSEAS) Outstanding Research Award in 1998.

Tittmann began his career in 1966 with North American Aviation, which later became Rockwell International, working in the physical electronics group. He spent 23 years at the company, having last been a manager at Rockwell International Science Center where he focused on materials characterization with an emphasis on nondestructive evaluation and acoustic microscopy.  

He is a member of the American Ceramic Society; the American Physical Society; ASM International; the American Society for Nondestructive Testing; the Materials Research Society; the American Society of Mechanical Engineers; the Acoustical Society of America (ASA); the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE); the International Society for Optical Engineering; the American Association for the Advancement of Science; Sigma Xi, the Scientific Research Honor Society and Sigma Pi Sigma, the Physics Honor Society.

Tittmann is also a Fellow of ASM International, ASA, IEEE, and was awarded a Senior Fulbright Fellowship in 1999.

He earned a Ph.D. in solid state physics and a master’s degree in physics from the University of California, Los Angeles. He received his bachelor’s degree in physics from George Washington University.

Tittmann has applied for a professor emeritus position with the ESM department, and following his retirement, he will move to southern California where he intends to continue his research in collaboration with the University of California, Santa Barbara.

“I have loved working at Penn State, and teaching and working with students,” said Tittmann. “I will miss their eager faces, inquiring minds and their enthusiasm about research. I will also greatly miss my colleagues, both in the department and across the University, and the excitement that comes from working with them.”

Ashok joined Penn State in 1978 as an assistant professor of engineering science after receiving his Ph.D. in electrical engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. He was promoted to full professorship in 1987. 

He initiated and pursued experimental research in a number of areas including semiconductor interfaces, ion implantation and plasma processing, process-induced effects in semiconductors, semiconductor defect engineering, hydrogen in silicon processing, photovoltaics and radiation effects.

Ashok also developed and taught several engineering science (E SC) graduate courses related to semiconductors: E SC 501: Solar Cell Device Physics, E SC 502: Semiconductor Heterojunctions and Applications, E SC 445: Semiconductor Optoelectronic Devices and E SC 597: Semiconductor Under Limits.

During his 39 years with the department, Ashok has supervised 12 Ph.D. theses and 25 master’s theses. He has also mentored countless graduate students and received a PSEAS Outstanding Research Award in 1983.

Ashok is a member of the Materials Research Society (MRS), IEEE (senior member), the Electrochemical Society and the American Vacuum Society.

He was the meeting co-chair for the MRS Fall Meeting in December 2008 and was the founder and co-organizer of the Symposium on Defect Engineering on Semiconductors held triennially at the MRS Spring Meetings from 1992 to 2007.

Ashok has published approximately 230 papers during his academic career. He has also participated at numerous national and international conferences, served on various program and selection committees, edited proceedings and journal issues, held several sabbatical and other stays overseas and given seminars and conducted short courses at numerous research labs and universities worldwide.

He received his bachelor’s degree with honors in electrical engineering from the University of Madras, India. He holds a Master of Technology degree in electrical engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur.

“I am an academic to the bone,” said Ashok. “I have always had very good, very productive students. There’s nothing better than having the position I had and helping students succeed.”

Ashok has sought Emeritus status from Penn State, and upon his retirement, he plans to pursue academic activities by serving on thesis committees and giving talks in his areas of expertise at various institutions. He will split his time between State College, PA, and Chennai, India.

“It’s been a wonderful experience,” said Ashok. “The 39 years have gone by so quickly and it feels like I joined the department just the other day. Penn State provided me a great opportunity to do what I love—perform open-ended research and educate students—and I will miss it greatly.”