1987Advanced TechnologyMaterials Science and Engineering
Morris Cohen photo

Morris Cohen

  • U.S.A. / November 27, 1911-2005
  • Metallurgist
  • Institute Professor Emeritus, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Fundamental Contribution to Development of New Materials Based on Creation of Broad and Basic Insights into the Metal Phase Transformation and Structure-Property Relationship

A leading researcher in metallurgy, who has created broad and basic new insights into phase transformation and structure-property relationships in materials and performed a leading role in the development of various materials such as the ultra-high strength steels in use today, the shape-memory alloy, and ceramic materials.
*This field then was Field of Materials Science.


Brief Biography

Born in Chelsea, Massachusetts, U.S.A.
Graduated from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
Doctor of Science in Metallurgy, MIT
Assistant Professor of Metallurgy, MIT
Associate Professor of Metallurgy, MIT
Professor of Physical Metallurgy, MIT
Ford Professor of Materials Science and Engineering, MIT
Institute Professor, MIT
Institute Professor Emeritus, MIT

Selected Awards and Honors

Gold Medal, American Society for Metals
Gold Medal, Japan Institute of Metals
Pierre Chevenard Medal, French Metallurgical Society
National Medal of Science, Presidential Award
Leadership Award, The Metallurgical Society of American Institute of Mining, Metallurgical, and Petroleum Engineers (AIME)

Selected Publications


The Strengthening of Steel, Trans. Met. Soc. AIME, 224, 1962


Self-Diffusion During Plastic Deformation, Trans. JIM, 11 No.3, 1970.


Materials and Mankind, Naval Research Reviews, XXXI No.10, 1978.


Classical and Non Classical Mechanisms of Martensitic Transformations(G. B. Olson and M. Cohen), Proc. ICOMAT-82 J. de Physique 43, 1982.


Rapid Solidification Processing and the Control of Structure/Property Relationships, Specialty Steels and Hard Materials(N. R. Comins and J. B. Clark), Eds., Pergamon Press, NY, 1983.


Fundamental Contribution to Development of New Materials Based on Creation of Broad and Basic Insights into the Metal Phase Transformation and Structure-Property Relationship

Dr. Morris Cohen began his professional work in 1973 as an assistant professor at MIT. He has devoted his life to education and research in materials science and engineering, particularly in physical metallurgy. And now, he is the preeminent academic leader in the field of materials science and engineering.

His research work has created broad and basic new insights into phase transformations and structure-property relationships in materials. He has played a seminal role in areas including the mechanism and kinetics of martensitic and bainitic transformations, tempering phenomena and strengthening mechanisms of ultra high strength steels, solid-state alloy thermodynamics, age hardening in alloys, deformation-enhanced diffusion, brittle fracture mechanisms in heterogeneous materials, mechanisms of strain hardening and dynamic recovery, strain-induced transformation and transformation plasticity, grain refinement mechanisms in microalloyed steels, and rapid solidification of crystalline alloys. His research not only laid the scientific groundwork for all of the ultra high strength steels in use today, but also is responsible for the advanced materials science that shape memory phenomena and transformation plasticity in metallic, ceramic, and biological systems.

Through his tireless activities, Dr. Cohen has inspired two generations of students and colleagues in the field of materials science and engineering. In addition, he has contributed extensively to international programs as well as national projects. He has already visited many countries to lecture and advise, and has been recognized by over 20 major international awards, honorary degrees, and professorships. His tremendous compassion, intellect, and energies have propelled him to the leadership position he now has.

Dr. Cohen, as a researcher and educator, is still continuing his works to bring them toward completion.


Abstract of the Lecture

Metallurgy and The Evolution of Materials Science and Engineering

Materials have become Increasingly ingrained in human existence ever since the emergence of mankind some hundred thousand years ago. The association between civilization and materials has intensified to the extent that, presently, about 15 billion tons of raw materials are taken annually from nature by mining, drilling, harvesting and fishing for conversion into countless edifices, machines, devices, and products for societal purpose. Nevertheless, despite the magnitude and importance of this world-wide enterprise, often referred to as the global materials cycle, it has been only within the past thirty years that the field of materials has come into intellectual focus. This has been accomplished, in effect, by carrying over the central theme of metallurgy (namely, the interrelationships between the processing, structure, properties, and performance of the metallic state) to other classes of materials that are potentially accessible and useful to society. In other words, the discipline of metallurgy has provided an excellent paradigm for the newer and broader field of materials science and engineering (MSE), within which metallurgy has now become an indispensable part. However, the several disciplines which function within MSE have not yet blended sufficiently to operate as a unified branch of knowledge, and so MSE must still be viewed as a multidiscipline in a vibrant state of change. It will take time, perhaps another generation of two, for society to determine whether MSE can actually evolve into a coherent discipline unto itself in competition with other branches of knowledge which are striving for attention. The crucial test is likely to depend on two subtle criteria: How well will MSE aid the human mind to understand nature ever more thoroughly, and how well will MSE help society to utilize nature ever more wisely?

Conceptually, metallurgy and MSE have much in common. In both cases, there is no clear separation between their scientific and engineering contents, and both gather special strength from this deliberate continuity. Both function most productively when there is an intimate mixing of scientific and experienced knowledge; yet major advances in this interplay are found to be initiated more frequently by novel processing and new experimental findings than by new theory. Hence, the hallmark of MSE thus far, as in metallurgy, is not the predictability of material behavior from first principles, but the synergistic reciprocities which are discovered between processing and structure, structure and properties, properties and performance. The operations of these interrelationships are nicely illustrated by examples of recent advanced-material developments.

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Research and Development for Advanced Materials

November 12, 1987 10:30-17:00
Kyoto International Conference Center


Chairperson Osamu Izumi
Member, Kyoto Prize Screening Committee in Advanced Technology;
Professor, Research Institute for Iron, Steel and Other Metals, Tohoku University
Greetings Kazuo Inamori
President, The Inamori Foundation
Opening remarks Shu Kanbara
Chairman, Kyoto Prize Screening Committee in Advanced Technology;
Professor Emeritus, Tokyo Institute of Technology
Lecture Morris Cohen
Laureate in Advanced Technology
"Martensitic Transformations in Materials Science and Engineering"
Lecture Imao Tamura
Professor Emeritus, Kyoto University
"Morphologies and Properties of Ferrous Martensities"
Lecture Kenichi Hirano
Professor, Department of Materials Science, Faculty of Engineering, Tohoku University
"Effects of Heat-treatment on Microstructures and Properties of Alloys"
Lecture Hideo Shingu
Professor, Department of Metal Science and Technology, Faculty of Engineering, Kyoto University
"Metastable Equilibrium and New Materials Development"
Lecture Hajime Suto
Professor, Department of Materials Processing, Faculty of Engineering, Tohoku University
"Phase Transformation in Zirconia Alloys"