1999 Kyoto Prize Laureates

Advanced Technology

Materials Science and Engineering

W. David Kingery

/  Ceramic Material Scientist

1926 - 2000

Regents Professor, The University of Arizona

Commemorative Lectures

The Science and Technology of Made Things


11 /11 Thu

Place:Kyoto International Conference Center


Development and Applications of Ceramic Science


11 /12 Fri

13:00 - 17:30

Place:Kyoto International Conference Center

Achievement Digest

Fundamental Contribution to Development of the Ceramics Science and Technology Based on the Physicochemical Theory

Dr. Kingery has made a fundamental contribution to the establishment of ceramic technology as a part of materials science and engineering, by theoretically systematizing the technology, including his own research results, that conventionally had relied solely on empirical rules. He thus contributed greatly to the development of this field today.


Dr. Kingery introduced a chemical and physical approach to ceramics, a field which had previously relied on empirical rules and an outdated scientific treatment, creating the discipline of “physical ceramics.” He was therefore a driving force behind the establishment of ceramics as a materials science, contributing enormously to the development of this field.

Dr. Kingery engaged in systematic research on sintering, the most basic process in ceramic manufacturing. His analysis of the sintering velocity of various models demonstrated that the sintering mechanism can be identified with mechanisms such as viscous flow, vaporization and condensation, and internal diffusion. In particular, he explained that liquid phase sintering, the most important process in ceramic manufacturing, proceeds in three stages-the wetting of particles through liquefaction, particle rearrangement, and dissolution and precipitation-providing the first theoretical elucidation of the essence of this process. Through this line of research, he also revealed that the key factor controlling the sintering mechanism of ceramics and the microstructures and physical properties of sintered materials is the diffusion coefficient of the component ions. Further, through his observation that the elimination of the pores, the final stage of sintering, proceeded through an interaction between pores and grain boundaries, Dr. Kingery provided the guidelines for an integrated understanding of the sintering process as a whole, from the initial to the final stage. The theories above have become basic guidelines for today’s ceramic manufacturing.

In his research on ionic conduction, Dr. Kingery measured the diffusion coefficient of oxygen ions in oxides, elucidating the behavior of oxygen ions and lattice defects and making an important contribution to analysis of the diffusion phenomenon. He also proposed new concepts based on his insights into the properties of the grain boundaries of ionic crystals, laying the groundwork for the development of more diversified ceramics applications. The results of his research in ceramic materials science have been applied to a number of ceramic manufacturing processes, including electronic ceramics, engineering ceramics and structural ceramics, leading to the production of an array of important industrial products.

Dr. Kingery presented the results of his work to the world in his Introduction to Ceramics. Still known today as the bible of ceramic materials science, this publication epitomizes Dr. Kingery’s contribution to materials science and demonstrates why he is called the “father of modern ceramics.”

As seen above, Dr. Kingery has made outstanding achievements in systematizing the discipline of ceramics as a science and has led the development of ceramic materials science worldwide through his many publications and the guidance provided by his research. For these reasons, the Inamori Foundation is pleased to bestow upon Dr. Kingery the 1999 Kyoto Prize in Advanced Technology.


Born in New York, U. S. A.
BC. S. in Chemistry, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (M. I. T.), U. S. A
Sc. D., Massachusetts Institute of Technology, U. S. A.
Faculty, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, U. S. A.
Full Professor of Ceramics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Professor of Materials Science and Engineering and Professor of Anthropology, University of Arizona
Regents Professor, University of Arizona
Selected Awards and Honors
Member, National Academy of Engineering
Edward Orton Jr. Memorial Lecture Award
Distinguished Life Member, American Ceramic Society
Chairman, Board of Trustees, Academy of Ceramics
Japanese Ceramic Society Centennial Award
Outstanding Ceramic Educator Award, American Ceramic Society
Major Works
Densification During Sintering in the Presence of a Liquid Phase. I . Theory, J. Appl. Phys. II. Experimental, J. Appl. Phys., 1959
Oxygen Ion Mobility in Cubic Zr0.85 Ca0.15 O1.85. (with M. E. Doty and other) J. Am. Ceram. Soc., 1959
Introduction to Ceramics. John Wiley & Sons, New York, 1960
Plausible Concepts Necessary and Sufficient for the Interpretation of Ceramic Grain-Boundary Phenomena. I. Grain Boundary Characteristics, Structure, and Electrostatic Potential. J. Chem. Soc. II. Solute Segregation, Grain-Boundary Diffusion and General Discussion. J. Chem. Soc., 1974
Ceramic Masterpieces - Art, Structure, Technology. (with P. B. Vandiver) The Free Press, Macmillan Company, New York, 1996

Profile is at the time of the award.