Professor Levi, the Mehrabian Distinguished Professor of Materials and a distinguished professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at UC Santa Barbara, was cited by NAE “for contributions to the understanding and development of high-temperature engineered surfaces and multilayers used in advanced gas turbine engines.”
“It is uplifting to receive this honor from NAE,” Levi said, “but it also makes one aware that it is only possible to build a career deserving of such recognition thanks to the contribution of current and former collaborators, including colleagues in industry and academia, as well as students and postdocs who might have learned from me, but also taught me through their research and search for knowledge.”
Hailing from Monterrey, Mexico, Levi came to the U.S. in the 1970s with a degree in chemical engineering and an interest in pursuing graduate studies in metallurgical engineering, especially on novel processing of metal alloys and composites. After joining the UC Santa Barbara faculty in 1984, this interest grew to include ceramics and a research emphasis on high-temperature engineered coatings and composites that improve fuel efficiency and reduce emissions in energy and transportation systems. In recent research, Levi identified and elucidated the mechanisms by which deposits of molten silicates (CMAS) from volcanic ash, sand and dusty environments around the world cause accelerated degradation of aircraft engine components. He has applied that knowledge to help guide the development of thermal and environmental barrier coatings that can resist CMAS-induced failures.
An author of more than 200 research articles, Levi is the recipient of several awards for his work, including the 1983 Howe Medal and the 1989 Grossman Award from the Materials Information Society. Additionally, he is a fellow of the American Ceramic Society and has been recognized with the 2002 Alexander von Humboldt Research Award for senior U.S. scientists, the 2008 NIMS Award and the 2014 TMS Morris Cohen Award.
“I am especially grateful to the people who created the collaborative environment at UCSB, which motivated and enable the learning process that has guided my career over the years, as well as to the colleagues who prepared my nomination,” Levi said.
Nguyen and Levi will be formally inducted during the NAE’s annual meeting on Oct. 1, 2023.