Michael Ernest Kassner is an American materials science engineer who serves as the Choong Hoon Cho Chair and Professor of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science and Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering at the University of Southern California's Viterbi School of Engineering. He is a former Director of Research at the Office of Naval Research.
Education and early career
Kassner graduated from Redlands Senior High School in Redlands California in 1968. He received a BSSE in Science-Engineering from Northwestern University in 1972, after which he served as an engineering officer in the U.S. Navy from 1972 to 1976. Kassner received an MS in Materials Engineering from Stanford University in 1979, followed by a PhD in that field from Stanford in 1981.
After working in the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory until 1990, where he was a Section Head in Physical Metallurgy, Kassner became affiliated with Oregon State University from 1990 to 2003, and was granted tenure there in 1992. There, he was both the Chevron and the Northwest Aluminum Professor of Mechanical Engineering, and winner of the 1995 College of Engineering Outstanding Sustained Research Award. In 2003, Kassner went to USC as Department Chair for the Department of Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering. Kassner held that position until 2009, and later became Choong Hoon Cho Chair and Professor of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science and Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering.
Office of Naval Research
From 2009 to 2012, while maintaining his position at USC, Kassner also returned to the U.S. Navy to serve as Director of Research at the Office of Naval Research ("ONR"), where he managed an approximately one billion dollar basic research portfolio. He also, during his tenure, spoke publicly about the concerns of the Navy for finding a sufficient number of engineers to fulfill its needs at a time when many persons graduating with engineering degrees in the U.S. were foreign-born, and would return to their native countries. He was also among the officials who noted that potential retirements of Navy civilians could hamper the Navy's scientific and engineering workforces and, argued that "scientific health is a national security issue".
In 2011, Kassner announced the expansion of the National Math and Science Initiative for Military Families. In 2012, Kassner was awarded the Meritorious Public Service Medal, one of the highest honors that can be awarded to a private citizen by the U.S. Navy.
Return to academia and administration
Following his service in the ONR, Kassner returned to USC full-time. In June, 2019, it was announced that Kassner would serve as Interim Chair of the Mork Family Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science.
Kassner "has authored or co-authored over 220 published articles and three books in the areas of fundamentals of creep plasticity in metals, the hot deformation of aluminum and aluminum alloys, and phase diagrams". In 2004, Kassner published one of his most widely cited works, a book entitled Fundamentals of Creep in Metals and Alloys.
Awards and Fellowships
- Fellow of American Society of Metals 1998
- Fellow of American Society of Mechanical Engineers 2009
- Fellow of American Association for the Advancement of Science 2009
- USC Mentoring (of Faculty) Award, 2018
- TMS (Minerals, Metals and Materials Society) Structural Materials Division Distinguished Scientist/Engineer Award, 2015
- Choong Hoon Cho Chair in Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering USC, 2013
- U.S. Navy Meritorious Public Service Medal, 2012
- Institute of Advanced Study, Hong Kong University of Science and Tech. Distinguished Lecture, 2011
- President's Award, National Org. Black Chemists and Chemical Engineers, 2011
- ASEE AFOSR Summer Faculty Fellow, 2008
- Fellow, ASM International (formerly American Society of Metals), 1998
- Northwest Aluminum Professorship, Dept. of Mechanical Eng., Oregon State University, 1997-2003
- Chevron Professorship, Dept. of Mechanical Engineering, Oregon State Univ, 1996
- Oregon State Univ. College of Engineering Research Award for Outstanding and Sustained Research Leadership, 1995
- Burgess Lecture: "Ductile Fracture under High Triaxial Stresses", ASM-ACS, Washington, DC, 1998
- Fulbright Senior Research Scholar, Metals Research Institute TNO, Apeldoorn, The Netherlands, 1983-1984