Steve Zinkle, a senior materials researcher at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, (ORNL) is one of 68 members elected this year to the National Academy of Engineering. It is one of the highest honors an engineer can receive.
Zinkle earned his BS, MS and PhD in nuclear engineering and an MS in materials science from UW-Madison from 1980-’85.
Chief scientist in ORNL’s nuclear science and engineering directorate, Zinkle was cited by the academy “for advancing understanding of radiation damage in metallic and ceramic components.”
“It’s obviously a tremendous honor,” Zinkle says. “If you consider that there is on the order of three million engineers and each year they have 65 or so elected, that’s a very tiny fraction. So it’s a great privilege to be in that select group. The academy is often asked by congress, federal agencies or other bodies to weigh in on the subjects of national importance. It’s viewed as being a trustworthy and unbiased source of information and I look forward to making a contribution.”
Zinkle’s materials research has focused on “deformation and fracture mechanisms” in structural materials, as well as radiation’s effects on ceramic materials and metallic alloys for fusion and fission reactors.
“This is wonderful news for Steve and for ORNL,” says ORNL Director Thom Mason. “Steve has made outstanding contributions to the understanding of radiation effects in materials for fission and fusion energy systems, and this prestigious honor is an indication both of the impact of his work and of the scientific excellence to which we aspire.”
Zinkle joined ORNL in 1985 as a Eugene Wigner fellow. He was director of the Materials Science and Technology Division from 2006 to 2010. He is author or coauthor of more than 240 peer-reviewed publications. In 2006, he received the prestigioius E.O. Lawrence Award for his contributions to the scientific understanding of the effects of radiation on the properties of materials and for identifying performance limits for materials in radiation environments.
Zinkle and the other new members will be formally inducted at the academy’s annual meeting in Washington, D.C., in September.