In Memory of Stanford R. Ovshinsky

It is of great sadness to us all to hear of the passing of Stanford R. Ovshinsky. He was a great inspiration to both old and young Materials Physicists. He was a scientist ahead of his time with an amazing love for science, strong social conviction and great innovation that pioneered many inventions in the areas of intelligent machines, energy and information technology. There are few areas of materials physics that he has not had a major impact in ranging from amorphous materials, nickel-metal hydride battery technology, thin film solar panels, flat panel displays, fuel cells and nonvolatile phase-change memory. He has showed us all that with passion, enthusiasm and drive anything is possible. Having started his working life as machinist and toolmaker, he went on to solve many national and societal needs. He founded a number of companies focused on energy and information technologies including Energy Conversion Laboratory and Energy Conversion Devices, which he founded with his wife Iris, and later Ovshinsky Innovation LLC.

Stanford was made a Fellow of the APS in 1984 “For his contributions to the understanding, applications and development of amorphous electronic materials and devices”. This was in recognition of his outstanding work that was well ahead of its time. He is also a Fellow of AAAS, the Engineering Society of Detroit and a Member of the Director’s Council at the Michigan Center of Theoretical Physics at the University of Michigan.

Stanford was a strong supporter of young scientists and the Division of Materials Physics. He set up the Ovshinsky Student Travel Awards to assist in the career of young researchers. The Awards were named after Iris Ovshinsky, who had a very strong interest and commitment to scientific education. It was endowed in perpetuity by the Ovshinsky family, their colleagues at Energy Conversion Devices (ECD) companies and all their numerous friends from many social, intellectual and business relationships. The first student recipients received these awards in 2009 and up until now a total of 38 students have received these awards.

The members of the scientific community, APS and the Division of Materials Physics will all remember Stanford Ovshinsky for his great passing for science and inspiration to young scientists. His passing is a great loss to us all and he will be missed. We send our condolences to the Ovshinsky family and friends.

On behalf of the APS Division of Materials Physics

Darrell Schlom
Chair, APS Division of Materials Physics