Florida State Professor Named MSE Department Head

Dr. Justin Schwartz, an engineering professor at Florida State University, has been selected to head the NC State MSE department and will assume his new position Aug. 16.

Schwartz, 44, replaces Dr. Mike Rigsbee, who has been department head since 1998 and who will continue as a professor of materials science and engineering after relinquishing his administrative post.

Dr. Louis Martin-Vega, dean of the NC State College of Engineering, named Schwartz department head after receiving recommendations from a faculty committee that had conducted a nine-month international search. The NC State Board of Trustees ratified Schwartz’s appointment.

In addition to serving as department head, Schwartz will join the MSE faculty as a Kobe Steel Distinguished Professor of Materials Science and Engineering.

Schwartz joined the Florida State faculty in 1993 as an associate professor of mechanical engineering and became Jack E. Crow Professor of Engineering in 2005. He is also an adjunct professor of engineering at Georgia Institute of Technology. Schwartz received his bachelor’s degree in nuclear engineering in 1985 from the University of Illinois and his Ph.D. in nuclear engineering from Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1990.

Boasting strong research credentials, Schwartz plans to transfer much of his research operation to NC State. He specializes in the development of superconducting materials–materials that offer zero resistance to electrical current. “My research has focused on transforming high-temperature superconducting materials from physical curiosities into functional engineering and materials systems,” Schwartz said. “These materials have enormous potential for a number of applications, including power systems, high-energy physics devices and medical applications.”

Having observed the MSE department during several visits to the NC State campus, Schwartz had high praise for the faculty, and he singled out the junior and mid-career faculty members for special mention. “The word about the newer faculty hasn’t gotten out yet,” he said. “They’re all very, very strong researchers and teachers.”