1999Advanced TechnologyMaterials Science and Engineering
W. David Kingery photo

W. David Kingery

  • U. S. A. / 1926-2000
  • Ceramic Material Scientist
  • Regents Professor, The University of Arizona

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.


Brief Biography

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


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

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introduced a chemical and physical approach to ceramics, a field which had previously relied on empirical rules and an outdated scientific treatment, creating the discipline of “physical ceramics.”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.


Abstract of the Lecture

The Science and Technology of Made Things

Our production and use of man made objects and experiences are the principle activities of modern life. Advanced technology is not possible without man made things. This belief that made things including their composition and structure are coupled to production activities and to use and performance activities is my vision of ceramic materials science advanced technology. There are so many advanced technical applications of ceramics that an appreciation of this vision is best approached for a general audience by reviewing some historical examples.

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Development and Applications of Ceramic Science

Nov. 12 1999, 13:00-17:30
Hiroaki Yanagida, Chairman of the Kyoto Prize Screening Committee; Director General of Research Institute, Japan Fine Ceramics Center and Tadashi Kokubo, Member of the Kyoto Prize Screening Committee; Professor, Graduate School of Engineering, Kyoto University


Greetings Toyomi Inamori
Managing Director, The Inamori Foundation
Yoshifumi Sakurai
Chairman of the Kyoto Prize Committee
Professor Emeritus, Osaka University
Moderator Hiroaki Yanagida
Introduction of Laureate Hiroaki Yanagida
Commomorative Lecture W. David Kingery Laureate
”Ceramic Materials Design”
Lecture Nobuyasu Mizutani
Professor, Graduate School of Science and Engineering, Tokyo Institute of Technology
”Reminiscence of Prof. Kingery and Grain Boundary Phenomena”
Lecture Naohiro Soga
Director, Center for Academic and Cultural Exchange, University of Shiga Prefecture
”Diversity of Basic Science of Ceramics”
Moderator Tadashi Kokubo
Lecture Hiroaki Yanagida
”Proposals for the Future of Ceramic Materials”
Lecture Noboru Ichinose
Professor, School of Science and Engineering, Waseda University
”Development of Electronic Ceramics”
Lecture Yutaka Kagawa
Professor, Department of Metallic Materials, Institute of Industrial Science, The University of Tokyo
”Ceramic Matrix Composites”