University Park, Pa. -- L. Eric Cross, Evan Pugh Professor Emeritus of Electrical Engineering, Penn State, is the recipient of the 2010 Von Hippel Award from the Materials Research Society. The Von Hippel Award is the society's highest honor and is "conferred annually to an individual in recognition of the recipient’s outstanding contribution to interdisciplinary research on materials."
A founding member of the Penn State Materials Research Laboratory, Cross continues to make important contributions to the field of ferroelectric materials. He is recognized "for his imposing leadership in the science and applications of ferroelectric materials." His current work on flexoelectric composites could make possible a new generation of lead-free transducers for use in multiple industries worldwide.
World War II interrupted Cross’s undergraduate education at Leeds University (UK). During the war, he worked for the British Admiralty on a program using high frequency direction finding to track German U-boats, which ultimately allowed convoys to cross the Atlantic unharmed. The U.S. Navy supported much of his later work in the field of sonar undersea transducers.
Cross is a Fellow of the Materials Research Society, the American Physical Society, the Optical Society, the Ceramics Society and IEEE. In 1983, he was elected to the National Academy of Engineering. Cross joined Penn State as a senior research associate in 1961. He became an associate professor in 1964 and was named professor in 1966. In 1985, he was named Evan Pugh Professor of Electrical Engineering; an Evan Pugh Professorship is the highest distinction that the University can bestow on a faculty member. He is the author or coauthor of more than 850 refereed papers and he holds 12 patents. Along with his late colleague Robert E. Newnham, Cross developed the piezoelectric transducer designs used in almost all modern medical ultrasound machines.
Cross will receive the Von Hippel Award at the MRS fall meeting on Dec. 1, in Boston, where he will deliver the award lecture based on his research, "Flexoelectric Composites -- The Cutting Edge for New Lead-Free Piezoceramics."