I am particularly pleased to receive the Von Hippel Award and to do so in the city of Boston. I spent 24 happy years here at the Lincoln Laboratory of MIT, and Prof. Von Hippel was one of those on campus who made a special effort to build a bridge of communication to those of us who were out on Route 128. I would like him to know that his personal encouragement and his welcome to campus life were very much appreciated. During that period, it was Prof. Von Hippel who coined the phrase “molecular engineering” to describe the whole process of materials science. So it is in his honor that I have chosen as the title of my talk, “The Molecular Engineering of Oxides.”
Back in the 1950s, I was part of the group at Lincoln Laboratory that developed the ferrite-core memory for the digital computer. This task involved an identification of the optimum ferrospinel composition and the development of a fabrication and testing process that would give a high yield of cores with acceptable physical properties. Its realization involved, as well, the development of a theoretical underetanding of the factors that determine the shape of a B-H hysteresis loop and of why an exquisite annealing procedure was required to develop controlled chemical inhomogeneities via the dynamic Jahn-Teller effect. This experience made it clear to me that there was an urgent need to build bridges between the engineer and the materials scientist.