AMHERST, Mass. - Joseph I. Goldstein, dean of the College of Engineering at the University of Massachusetts, has been selected to receive the Henry Clifton Sorby Award of the International Metallographic Society (IMS). The Sorby Award is the society''s highest award and is presented annually in recognition of lifetime achievement in the field of metallurgy.
Goldstein specializes in metallography, the study of the structure of metals and alloys. Metallography is not a new science, according to Goldstein. "It''s a very old technique," he said. "It basically goes back as a science to the mid-1800s, but probably the oldest case is in the Middle Ages with swordmaking. The best swords ever produced were etched on the surface to assess quality - you could see the structure of the sword," which is a basic technique in metallography.
Since that basic technique came into use, metallography has advanced considerably through the use of high-powered microscopes and methods of polishing, heating, or treating the metal with a chemical to reveal structure. "You can learn a lot about the history" of a metal, Goldstein said. Metallography is especially useful today in instances such as an airplane accident. "A typical technique is to look at parts of the airplane that broke or burned, to find cracks, to understand any unusual circumstances or the way the material was processed. You can tell all of that by looking at it under a microscope."
Goldstein''s research, however, has led him to examine other objects that have fallen from the sky - namely, extraterrestrial objects such as meteorites and lunar samples. In his more than 35 years in the field, Goldstein has been involved in the development of the electron probe microanalyzer, a microscope that can also analyze the chemistry of a material at the micron level (one ten-thousandth of a centimeter); the scanning electron microscope, which is used for taking pictures of the surfaces of samples; and the analytical electron microscope. His textbooks on metallurgy and microscopy "have been widely used and have influenced the majority of people in this field," said George Vander Voort, chairman of the IMS awards committee.
The 1999 Sorby Award will be presented to Goldstein at the International Metallographic Society''s annual meeting in Cincinnati this November, where Goldstein will give a talk on "Metallography of Metallic Phases in Extraterrestrial Materials."