Leonard Brillson is a professor of electrical and computer engineering and physics at The Ohio State University, where he is also the Center for Materials Research Scholar and a University Distinguished Scholar. He obtained his A.B. degree from Princeton University and his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Pennsylvania, all in physics. On graduation, he joined the Xerox Corporation Research Center in Rochester, N.Y. as a technical staff member, then served in management positions up to Director of Xerox’s Materials Research Laboratory with responsibility for Xerox’s long-range physical science and technology programs at the company’s largest research headquarters. He is a Fellow of the Materials Research Society as well as the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), the American Academy for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the American Physics Society (APS), the AVS Science & Technology Society, and a former Governing Board member of the American Institute of Physics (AIP). He has served on the board of editors for several technical journals including the Journal of Electronic Materials currently. In MRS, he has been active in the Government Affairs Committee. He co-chaired the GAC subcommittee that produced the Advanced Materials for our Energy Future publication, a collaborative initiative of five materials societies led by MRS and which was featured on the MRS Advocacy website. This technically thorough but layman-readable publication was widely distributed to government agencies and became a standard tool for MRS visits to Capitol Hill legislators. Since 2009, Len has served numerous times on the Congressional Visits Day team that the GAC sends to Capitol Hill each spring. Since 2011, he has served as editor of the Intersections newsletter, a quarterly venue for communicating the issues related to materials research being debated in Washington, DC with the MRS membership. He created a new feature as part of each issue, an article on value-added materials science that features success stories from MRS members that highlight how Federal investments in materials science pay off in ways that the general public and especially our elected officials can relate to.
His research group pursues a broad science and engineering program in the structure and properties of electronic materials surfaces and interfaces at the atomic and nanometer scales, emphasizing wide band gap semiconductors for microelectronics and optoelectronics, semiconductor heterostructures for renewable energy generation, semiconductor transistors for bioelectronics sensors, thin film dielectrics for insulating gate structures, and complex oxides for spintronic, communications, radar, and ultrasensitive antenna applications. He has authored more than 360 professional publications including technical articles, invited reviews, monographs , and two textbooks as well as > 10,000 citations to his work (h-index = 53), including the ISI Citation Classic, The Structure and Properties of Metal-Semiconductor Interfaces. His awards include Xerox Corporation’s Outstanding Achievement Award, Surface Science Magazine’s Excellence Award, Citation Classic recognition by the Institute for Scientific Information, IEEE Columbus’ Technical Achievement Award, the AVS Science and Technology Gaede-Langmuir award, a National Science Foundation American Competitiveness and Innovation Fellowship, and Ohio State University’s Distinguished Scholar Award. Thirty-five former members of his group are now either faculty or technical staff members in companies, government labs, and startups.
I am excited by the possibility of participating on the MRS board and contributing to achieving its stated objectives and mission. Having now been in both industry and academia and continuing to work with colleagues at government laboratories and startups, I can appreciate the diverse talents and backgrounds of my colleagues as well as the challenges they deal with in each working environment. MRS is clearly the leading scientific and professional society that advances materials research worldwide as well as adding a strong, authoritative voice supporting science overall. Indeed, MRS aims to achieve these goals at many levels. It is uniquely positioned to promote communication of materials research that stimulates further progress across the world. With its broad international membership, MRS is able to promote exchange of the most exciting research results to the world research community rapidly. At another level, MRS volunteers have a wide range of talent and expertise to communicate the value of materials research and the importance of sustained federal support to our legislators at the national, state, and local levels. Because materials form the bedrock on which the latest communications, transportation, aerospace, biomedical, information systems, and many other technologies are built, MRS members with the support that MRS can provide are well positioned to show legislators as well as laymen how advances in new materials and designs can benefit society and improve our quality of life. Also, MRS recognizes the importance of diversity and outreach to new members and younger students, whose inspiration and inclusion can increase the creative abilities of our community. I hope to contribute in each of these areas.
Looking forward to the new era of international competition in science and technology, it is important for MRS to continue advocating for its members worldwide in materials research. At the scientific level, this can be done by further refining MRS engagement with federal agencies at our national meetings as well as sponsoring workshops in fields of exciting new materials developments to strengthen our innovation leadership. At a professional level, MRS already offers career workshops and resources to identify employment opportunities for all members. However, a challenge for both educators and students from other countries are possible governmental restrictions they may encounter in the graduate educational process, employment opportunities, and with international collaborations. Just as MRS acted in concert with other research societies to help protect our country’s graduate students from federal taxes on their tuition waivers, I would advocate MRS working with other scientific and professional societies to proactively address this emerging government restrictions issue at the national level.
I also support broadening the diversity and inclusion of materials scientists and engineers in terms of new research opportunities for women and underrepresented minority students. At the high school level, a summer research internship program I created and managed continuously since 2006 has been successful in motivating high school girls toward careers in science and engineering. Over 50 alumnae of this program have gone on to college majors in STEM fields with participation levels far above the national average. Similar programs with modest cosharing from federal agencies and universities as well as scientific & engineering societies could become new avenues to inspire participation in materials science as well as other STEM fields.