UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – Zi-Kui Liu, distinguished professor of materials science and engineering in the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences, was recently named president of ASM International.
The society is the world's largest association of materials-centric engineers and scientists and serves to advance materials knowledge for industry, education, government and society, according to the group.
“I felt very humbled when I was informed that the nominating committee elected me to this leadership role,” Liu said. “I have served the society at various levels and felt that my perspectives and global experiences could contribute to the continued development of ASM International.”
Liu’s one-year term as president began at the Materials Science and Technology annual meeting last fall. He served as vice president from 2018-19 and will be immediate past president from 2020-21, completing his three-year term on the society’s board of trustees.
During his term as president, Liu plans to continue to help the society grow digitally, interdisciplinary, globally and culturally.
“As a teacher, the thing I enjoy the most is to witness how people grow through interactions with me and how I am enriched from those experiences,” he said. “ASM International provides a platform for me to interact with more people domestically and globally to exchange ideas and build a better future for the materials community, which ultimately benefits humanity.”
Liu’s research focuses on the modeling and design of a wide range of materials chemistry and processing conducted in his Phases Research Laboratory at Penn State.
Liu’s current research activities are centered on first-principles calculations; modeling of thermodynamic and kinetic properties, and their integration in understanding defects, phase stability and phase transformations; and designing and tailoring materials processing and properties. He has published more than 530 scientific papers in peer-reviewed journals.
Liu is frequently recognized for his research. Most recently, he received the 2018 William Hume-Rothery Award from the Minerals, Metals and Materials Society for exceptional contributions to alloys science. He also received the J. Willard Gibbs Phase Equilibria Award from ASM International, the Spriggs Phase Equilibria Award from Acers and the Lee Hsun Lecture Award from the Chinese Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Metal Research.
Prior to joining Penn State’s faculty in 1999, Liu worked as a research associate at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and as a senior research scientist at Questek Innovating, LLC. He founded the Center for Computational Materials Design, a collaborative effort between Penn State and the Georgia Institute of Technology funded by the National Science Foundation. He served as director from 2005-14.
In 2002, he coined the term Materials Genome, which focuses on the important components of engineered materials, much like genomes in biology. His company Materials Genome, Inc. owns the trademark.
Liu received a bachelor’s degree in metallurgy from Central South University in China, his master’s degree in materials engineering from the University of Science and Technology Beijing, and his doctorate in physical metallurgy from the Royal Institute of Technology in Sweden.