Colloquia & Seminars
John E. Dorn Lecture


John E. Dorn (1909–1971) was the most distinguished and well-known metallurgical alumnus of Northwestern University. In the late 1950s he helped his alma mater, which then had a very small materials science department, to receive Department of Defense funding to host one the nation’s first three Materials Research Centers. Both the center and the department were launched on a path to their present world-renowned stature.

Dorn was particularly famous for his work on the high-temperature creep of metals. He and his best-known student, Oleg Sherby, who went on to become a professor at Stanford University, established that the activation energy of high temperature creep is the same as that of self-diffusion. Sherby was the first Dorn lecturer in 1974.

A Chicago native, Dorn received both BS (1931) and MS (1932) degrees in chemistry from Northwestern and a PhD (1936) in physical chemistry from the University of Minnesota. After a two-year postdoctoral fellowship at Battelle Memorial Institute in Columbus, Ohio, he became a faculty member at the University of California, Berkeley, where he spent the rest of his career in physical metallurgy, a field that attracted many chemistry-trained scientists at the time. He was known as an outstanding teacher as well as research scientist.

Dorn authored or co-authored 180 research papers. His honors included the ASTM Charles Dudley Medal (1958), the ASM Howe Medal (1959), the ASTM Gillette Lectureship (1962), and the ASM Albert Easton White Distinguished Teacher Award (1964). He was elected a medallion member of the Honneur Société Francaise de Metallurgie in 1968. He received an honorary PhD from Northwestern in 1971.


Stephen Pennycook
"Scanning Transmission Electron Microscopy: Towards Atom-by-Atom Imaging in Three Dimensions"
January 12, 2016

John Kilner, Imperial College, London
"Solid State Ionics: From Defects to Devices"
Apr. 28, 2015

Harry Atwater, Caltech
"Tunable and Quantum Plasmonic Materials"
Jan. 21, 2014

Tresa Pollock, University of California, Santa Barbara
"A New Tri-Beam Tomography System: How Much Information is Enough"
Feb. 12, 2013

Pulickel Ajayan, Rice University
"Nano-engineered materials: Opportunities and challenges"
Feb. 14, 2012

Eduard Arzt, Saarland University
"Strength, adhesion, sound and survival: A tour of size effects"

Oct. 26, 2010

Evelyn Hu, Harvard University
"Designing Optical Materials from the Top Down: Sculpting Photonic Materials at the Scale of Wavelengths"
Apr. 21, 2009

Patricia Dehmer, U.S. Dept of Energy
"Facing Our Energy Challenges in a New Era of Science"
May 6, 2008

John Rogers, UIUC
"Carbon Nanomaterials for Electronics"

May 22, 2007

Prof. Steve Granick, University of Illinois 
"Nanoparticle-assisted Fun with Phospholipids and Other Novel Colloidal Particles"
May 2, 2006

Elizabeth Holm, Sandia National Laboratories
"Small, But Not Too Small: Recrystallization Modeling at the Microstructural Scale"
Apr. 5, 2005