TMS Honors Tresa Pollock for Impact as a Researcher and Mentor

Thursday, March 7, 2024

UC Santa Barbara materials professor Tresa Pollock has been honored by her peers with the 2024 William D. Nix Award from The Minerals, Metals & Materials Society (TMS), a testament to her impact on materials, on graduate students as an advisor, and on junior professionals in the field as a mentor. The prestigious annual award recognizes an individual whose work has had a significant and lasting impact on the underlying mechanisms and/or mechanical behavior of materials. Pollock, the Alcoa Distinguished Professor of Materials, was cited for her “seminal contributions to the creep and fatigue behavior of structural alloys and underlying deformation mechanisms, and for inexhaustible devotion to the mentoring of early career scientists.”

“I am extremely honored, especially because this award is named after one of my academic heroes, Bill Nix,” said Pollock, referring to the professor emeritus from Stanford University whose work on structural materials and nanoplasticity spawned new areas of study and impacted researchers working in fields ranging from aerospace to microelectronics. “He has been one of the most influential materials scientists and has been very generous to me during my academic career, so I am humbled to be a Nix Award recipient.” 

“We are tremendously proud of Tresa Pollock, and we congratulate her on this well-deserved recognition,” said Umesh Mishra, dean of UCSB’s College of Engineering. “She has dedicated her illustrious career to the development and understanding of high-temperature alloys and tirelessly mentored the next generation of scientists and engineers.”

Pollock’s research interests include the mechanical and environmental performance of materials in extreme environments, unique high-temperature materials processing paths, ultrafast laser-material interactions, alloy and coating designs, and 3D materials characterization. She and her research group invented an innovative in-situ tomography platform, called the TriBeam, which has since been commercialized. The instrument enables 3D imaging of materials and makes it possible to acquire a unique set of multimodal information about materials chemistry and structure, which is then turned into 3D data sets. 

UCSB materials professor Daniel Gianola said that Pollock was eminently deserving of the latest recognition and distinction, because she embodied Nix’s unwavering dedication to both scholarship and the mentorship of early-career scientists and engineers. 

“Professor Pollock’s transformative impact on the understanding of the structure-processing-properties linkages in advanced structural alloys is on equal footing with the visionary role she has played in ushering the materials profession into the future,” said Gianola. “As a direct consequence, other researchers in the field point their own compasses toward the true north that she illuminates.”

News Type: 

Awards and Accolades