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L. David Pye, dean and professor of glass science emeritus at Alfred University (AU), delivered the keynote address at the 23rd International Congress on Glass July 1 in Prague, the Czech Republic.
In his address, "Glass and the Nanotechnology Paradigm," Pye explored how some of the major developments in glass science were, in fact, milestones in the advent of the nanotechnology era.
"Nanoscale science and engineering have become arguably the foremost conduit for focusing on how modern materials are viewed, fabrication, characterized and utilized throughout society," said Pye, who received his B.S. degree from Alfred University in 1959, and his Ph.D. from AU in 1968.
"Glass is the quintessential nanotech material," said Pye, who was a founding director of the National Science Foundation's Industry-University Center for Glass Research at Alfred University. Pye was also instrumental in creating the doctoral degree in glass science at AU, making the University the only institution in the United States and only the third in the world to offer the degree.
Long before nanotechnology became a buzzword, glass scientists were working on microcrack theory, amorphous phase separation, photosensitivity, photonucleation, ligand field theory, controlled crystallization, ion-exchange and resolution of glass theory, all processes that occur at the nano-level.
"Our understanding of glass at the nanoscale level has led to some remarkable applications in such diverse fields as energy, medicine, photonics, architecture, transportation and communications," Pye noted, saying his address focused on "the origin and growth of the nanotechnology paradigm," showing its "connection to both historical and modern-day glass science theory, and potential future applications of glass."
Pye retired after a 34-year career at Alfred University as a professor and administrator.
He is past president of the International Commission on Glass (ICG), and the American Ceramic Society. He is an honorary member of the German Society of Glass Technology, honorary fellow of the British Society of Glass Technology and a distinguished life member of the American Ceramic Society.
Pye has received numerous awards, including the ICG's President's Award for Lifetime Achievements and the State University of New York Chancellor's Award for Scholarship and Creativity. He currently serves as founding editor of the International Journal of Applied Glass Science, and is an aspiring stained glass artist.
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