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Kurt Sickafus, project leader at Los Alamos National Laboratory, has been named the Alvin and Sally Beaman Professor and head of the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Department of Materials Science and Engineering, effective August 1, 2011.

Sickafus has been associated with Los Alamos since 1989. He is a part-time faculty member at the University of New Mexico Extended University’s Los Alamos Center. He has authored or co-authored more than 200 publications and is the recipient of numerous awards, including the Los Alamos National Laboratory Distinguished Mentor Performance Award and the Los Alamos National Laboratory 2001 Fellows Prize. He was named a fellow of the Los Alamos National Laboratory in 2008. Sickafus is the president of the New Mexico chapter of the Materials Research Society and a member of the advisory editorial board of the Journal of Nuclear Materials.

“We are delighted to have a scholar and researcher of Sickafus’ caliber to join us as professor and head of our rapidly expanding materials science and engineering department,” said Wayne Davis, dean of the College of Engineering. “He will be a strong leader who will continue Pharr’s progress in advancing the program.”

Sickafus will succeed George Pharr, a UT Chancellor’s Professor who has been serving as both MSE department head and director of the Joint Institute for Advanced Materials. Pharr will step down as department head to take on full-time duties at JIAM, a joint UT-ORNL institute for advanced materials multidisciplinary research.

Research areas for Sickafus include the behavior of complex oxides in extreme radiation environments. Sickafus received his BA in physics and mathematics from Ohio Wesleyan University in 1978. He received his MS and PhD degrees in materials science and engineering from Cornell University in 1981 and 1985.