Retired Corning scientist helps spark glass research interest where industry needs it the most: Academia
Many Ivy League material scientists used to think glass was boring.
Then they met Dr. Pete Bocko.
Bocko teaches Glass: Structure, Properties, and Modern Applications at Cornell University. And while he covers the fundamentals of glass chemistry and formation, he strives to get students to connect these basics with glass functionality in real applications.
“I want to encourage students to become knowledgeable consumers of glass,” says Bocko, who spent 34 years as a Corning researcher and innovation advocate.
“My goal is to help create a generation of scientists and engineers that may be working on a new phone or an application that we can’t even imagine today – and because they are so comfortable with glass, they design it into an application that enables their entire system.”
For his students, the formula makes perfect sense. Over just one year, Bocko’s class has become one of the most popular electives in Cornell’s School of Material Science and Engineering.
Rachel Connolly, a Cornell senior majoring in biomaterials and polymers, signed up for Bocko’s class last fall because she needed another elective. Since then, she said, “it’s become very influential in my interest in in materials science.
“Now I understand how altering just a tiny bit of an element can vastly change glass properties and result in a whole new application. Even if I don’t end up working with glass directly, it’s on my radar now – and there’s no telling how I might be able to put it to use when I’m working in industry.”