About MRS

Sergei V. Kalinin, Oak Ridge National Laboratory

Sergei Kalinin

Sergei V. Kalinin is the director of the ORNL Institute for Functional Imaging of Materials and distinguished research staff scientist at the Center for Nanophase Materials Sciences (CNMS) at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (at ORNL since 2002).  He also holds a Joint Associate Professor position at the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville, and an adjunct faculty position at Pennsylvania State University. He received his PhD from the University of Pennsylvania in 2002, followed by a Wigner fellowship at ORNL (2002-2004).  He is a Fellow of MRS, APS, IoP, IEEE, and AVS; a recipient of the RMS medal for Scanning Probe Microscopy (2015); Zernicke and Pollak lectureships; Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE) (2009); IEEE-UFFC Ferroelectrics Young Investigator Award (2010); Burton Medal of Microscopy Society of America (2010); ISIF Young Investigator Award (2009); American Vacuum Society Peter Mark Memorial Award (2008); three R&D100 Awards (2008, 2010, and 2016); Ross Coffin Award (2003); Robert L. Coble Award of American Ceramics Society (2009); and a number of other distinctions. 

Kalinin has been active in MRS throughout his professional career. He has organized numerous symposia (including symposia on scanning probe microscopy in 2004, 2007, and 2009, nanoscale electromechanics in 2011, big data and machine learning in materials in 2017, and direct matter assembly by electron beams in 2018), and was a Meeting Chair of the 2014 MRS Spring Meeting and IMRC meeting in Cancun in 2017. He organized two MRS Bulletin issues (“Electromechanics on the Nanometer Scale: Emerging Phenomena, Devices, and Applications” in 2009 and “Single Atom Fabrication with Beams and Probes” in 2017) and was the editor for the 2012 volume. He has also served the Society as a member of a publications subcommittee, the Program Development Subcommittee, and the Award Nominations (diversity) Subcommittee.  He established the international workshop series on PFM and Nanoferroelectrics (starting from 2007, >20 meetings to date worldwide).  He is also a member of editorial boards for several international journals, including Nanotechnology, Journal of Applied Physics/Applied Physics Letters, and the recently established Nature Partner Journal: Computational Materials. He has published more than 550 peer-reviewed journal papers, edited three books, and holds more than 18 patents. 

His research interests include the application of big data and machine learning in atomically resolved and mesoscopic imaging to guide the development of advanced materials for energy and information technologies, as well as electromechanical, electrical, and transport phenomena on the nanoscale explored via scanning probe and scanning transmission electron microscopy. Recently he got actively involved in direct atom by atom fabrication and matter control by the electron beams in STEM, as a new enabling technology for nanoscience and nanotechnology.

Candidate's Statement

Materials are the source of endless fascination in terms of their structures, properties, and the endless variability of the functionalities they exhibit on length scales from atomic to macroscopic. Materials are also the foundation of modern civilization, from transistors and quantum computers to medical devices and implants to materials for space flight.

The Materials Research Society has become the melting pot in which the communities from classical solid-state chemistry and electrochemistry, physics, biology, imaging, and more recently big data and machine learning meet and where new interdisciplinary ideas and collaborations are born. As the development of civilization accelerates and materials become the focal point of the human enterprise, the role of MRS in  launching scientific and technological developments will only increase.

To achieve this goal, I believe MRS should focus on three key objectives. First and foremost, societies are people. Society members are the core of the MRS identity and form the vibrant communities that fulfill its mission. MRS staff ensures the success of the Society by their continuous commitment to the many functions required to achieve our mission and make it operate seamlessly through the year and especially during the meetings. MRS volunteers bring their energy, knowledge, and vision to guide the Society towards the future. I believe that new advances in social media can broaden the reach of the Society and bring in a new generation of scientists from all over the world – first remotely and then in person. Diversity is a key aspect of this goal, and I hope to see MRS strengthening the bridges between US and the Americas, Europe, China and other Asian countries, Middle Eastern countries, and India.

Secondly, I believe that materials science now is poised on the brink of transformational change brought by the big data and machine learning technologies. Facebook, Google, and You Tube, have drastically changed everyday life over the last decade. This transition is now happening in the academic and consequently R&D worlds, the process made all the more exciting by the high heterogeneity of the tasks and goals in the research community that preclude top-down developments and drives material scientists to expand their knowledge towards the fields of big data, machine learning, and artificial intelligence. I deeply believe that now is the best time for merger between the classical materials science and the vast areas of computer science, both on the level of exploratory data and image analysis and also delving into deep connections between statistical physics and data analytics. The availability of high-level programming languages and IoT electronics and sensors makes this transition possible in each and every lab. MRS is ideally positioned to become the center of this transformation – via meetings, Bulletin, social media, web tutorials, and collaborative workflows.

Finally, learning is the key part of science. Increasing the outreach to younger generations of scientists at K-12 and undergraduate level – through meetings, social media, and web materials will enable the transition to the future academic and industrial jobs.

Achieving these objectives requires a balance of tried and true activities of the Society with new technologies for increasing connectivity, outreach, and teamwork, maintaining the passion that has made MRS a success and amplifying its voice. As a member of the MRS Board, I will see my role in strengthening the bridge between classical materials community and big data and machine learning, increasing global outreach of the Society and enabling the connection to scientists across the globe, and first and foremost bringing the spirit of the Society to the future.

My first scientific meeting as graduate student in US was the MRS Fall Meeting in 1998, and the sense of awe and the excitement of materials has remained with me ever since. I will aim to pass this feeling on to coming generations.