Gordon S. Fulcher Sabbatical Program | Glass Research | Corning

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Working to strengthen the future of the U.S. glass industry, Corning invites applicants from the academic community each year for a six-month sabbatical at the company's Sullivan Park Research Center.

2016 Fulcher Sabbatical Scholars

Winners of the second Fulcher Sabbatical, Research Fellow Anita Zeidler & Professor Phil Salmon

Continuing with its journey in helping to build a strong future for glass research, Corning’s Gordon S. Fulcher distinguished scholars Professor Phil Salmon and Research Fellow Anita Zeidler recently began their six-month sabbatical at the company’s Sullivan Park Research Center.

Phil and Anita both work in the Physics Department at the University of Bath in the United Kingdom and, as the second Fulcher sabbatical winners, will be working within the Glass Research Group during their time at Corning.

The sabbatical program was named after Dr. Gordon Scott Fulcher, a Corning glass and ceramic scientist from 1920 until 1934. Dr. Fulcher was best known for the creation of the transformative three-parameter model of viscosity known as the "Fulcher equation.”

“We are delighted to welcome Phil and Anita to Corning,” said Dr. John Mauro, senior research manager of Glass Research at Corning.

“They bring extensive experience in understanding structure-property relationships for a wide variety of glass compositions of interest to Corning and are particularly adept at connecting fundamental science to practical problems of technological interest.”

During their sabbatical, Phil and Anita will be focused on understanding the impact of pressure on glass structure and the mechanical behavior of glass among other glass research topics. “I look forward to working on cutting-edge projects that require a multidisciplinary approach at the interface between basic science and technology,” Phil said.

Anita is also excited about the opportunity to meet and collaborate with new colleagues throughout the sabbatical. “It’s great to work in an environment where everybody you meet is an expert on glass, and can help with difficult questions about the preparation, characterization and properties of these fascinating materials,” Anita said.

The inaugural Fulcher sabbatical scholars Professors Liping Huang and Yunfeng Shi of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute spoke at Corning's 2016 Glass Summit about their experience at Corning as the first participants in the program.

“Corning is a place where anything can happen with glass research,” said Professor Huang. “If we continue to work together – both industry and academia – we’ll help to advance the future of glass science.”

“While Corning has many working relationships with universities around the globe, this program offers the sabbatical winners and Corning a unique opportunity,“ said Ellen Kosik Williams, university collaborations manager & research associate. “Since the scholars are here for an extended period of time, they’re able to really learn about innovation at Corning and can offer a different and valuable perspective to our researchers as well.”

2015 Fulcher Sabbatical Scholars

Winners of the inaugural Fulcher Sabbatical, Professors Liping Huang and Yunfeng Shi

Concerned about the scarcity of industrially relevant glass research in academia, Corning is working to strengthen the future of the U.S. glass industry.

The company took a major step toward that goal this month as two professors from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute began six-month sabbaticals at Sullivan Park's Research and Development facility in Erwin, N.Y. This is the first time Corning has designed a sabbatical program and invited applicants from the academic community. It is also one of the first U.S. programs specifically focused on glass research.

The objective is to enable close engagement between university professors and Corning scientists on research topics of mutual interest—especially those related to the fundamental science of glasses that are most likely to be used in commercial or industrial settings.

This is the first time Corning has designed a sabbatical program and invited applicants from the academic community.

The inaugural distinguished researchers, Professors Liping Huang and Yunfeng Shi of RPI, appreciate this new vantage point.

"Seeing the vibrant research activities at Corning and the ability to work hand in hand with Corning scientists on fundamental glass problems has been quite eye-opening," Professor Shi said.

The company hopes that fostering this direct link with academia will influence the research at universities, encouraging more focus in key areas related to Corning and other major U.S. glass manufacturers.  

"We began this journey two years ago when we were having a difficult time finding the right candidates for open positions within Glass Research," said John Mauro, senior research manager of Glass Research at Corning.

Corning’s Science & Technology organization addressed this issue first with a paper, "Glass Science in the United States: Current Status and Future Directions," and then a Glass Summit in Corning, N.Y. Both helped stimulate conversation within the glass research community on how to safeguard its future.

"The summit was a huge success – with more than 120 participants from Corning, academia, and various funding agencies from around the globe," Dan Vaughn, manager of External Technology Collaborations and Intellectual Assets, said. "It generated many great ideas."

One of those ideas was the newly established sabbatical program, named after Dr. Gordon Scott Fulcher, a Corning glass and ceramic scientist from 1920 until 1934. Dr. Fulcher was best known for the creation of the transformative three-parameter model of viscosity known as the "Fulcher equation."

Corning now hopes that a second summit will generate similar productive ideas. An event slated for June 2016 will include an expanded scope of topics and more invited speakers.

John said that as these efforts continue to grow, Corning is off to a solid start in nurturing future generations of glass researchers. 

"It may take years or a decade for us to fully see the results of the work we're putting in now," he added, "but we're hopeful that the results will enable a brighter future for the glass industry at large."

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