Enrique J. Lavernia
Enrique J. Lavernia

The recipient of the 2020 Acta Materialia Gold Medal is Dr. Enrique J. Lavernia, Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor for the University of California, Irvine. As provost, Dr. Lavernia is UCI’s chief academic and operating officer, with primary responsibility for the university’s teaching and research enterprise, which includes 16 schools, nearly 5,500 faculty and 192 degree programs.

Before joining UCI, Dr. Lavernia was engineering dean and a Distinguished Professor of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science at UC Davis. He also served as provost and executive vice chancellor for two years as UC Davis transitioned to a new chancellor. During his tenure as dean of the UC Davis College of Engineering, it evolved into one of the nation’s fastest-growing and most prestigious engineering schools. Nine members of the faculty, including Dr. Lavernia, became members of the National Academies. Research expenditures doubled, 88 professors were hired and student enrollment increased by 22 percent, with significant increases in female and Hispanic undergraduates. 

Dr. Lavernia earned a Ph.D. in Materials Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. His research interests include the synthesis and behavior of nanostructured and multi-scale materials with particular emphasis on processing fundamentals and physical behavior; thermal spray processing of nanostructured materials; spray atomization and deposition of structural materials; high temperature-high pressure atomization processes; and mathematical modeling of advanced materials and processes.

In 2019, he was awarded an honorary doctorate of Science in Technology from Aalto University in Helsinki, Finland. In 2018, he received the Distinguished Engineering Educator Award by the National Engineers’ Council. He became a member of the National Academy of Inventors in 2017. In 2016, Dr. Lavernia was elected a Fellow of the National Academy of Inventors and he received the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation Research Award as well as the Leadership Award from the TMS Society. In 2015, he was inducted into the Hispanic Hall of Fame by the HEENAC Great Minds in STEM and was appointed Distinguished Professor at UC Irvine. He was elected to the National Academy of Engineering in 2013. The same year, he received the Edward DeMille Campbell Memorial Lectureship and the ASM International Gold Medal Award. He received the Hispanic Engineer National Achievement Award and the Society for the Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science Distinguished Scientist Award in 2011. 

Named Presidential Young Investigator by the National Science Foundation, Dr. Lavernia also received a Young Investigator Award from the Office of Naval Research. He is a Fellow of the Minerals, Metals and Materials Society, the Materials Research Society, the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and ASM International.

Dr. Lavernia will receive the Acta Materialia Gold Medal and present an overview of his research in February 2020 during the TMS Annual Meeting in San Diego, California.