Rachel S. Goldman named Maria Goeppert Mayer Collegiate Professor

Goldman, an expert in materials physics, has made exceptional contributions to research, education and service.
Rachel S. Goldman named Maria Goeppert Mayer Collegiate Professor

Rachel S. Goldman, Maria Goeppert Mayer Collegiate Professor

MSE is pleased to announce that Professor Rachel S. Goldman has earned the title Maria Goeppert Mayer Collegiate Professor. The appointment, effective September 1, was approved last night at the U-M regents meeting.

“Professor Goldman has made exceptional contributions to research, education, and service, spanning three departments, two colleges, and many years,” commented Liz Holm, the Richard F. and Eleanor A. Towner Professor of Engineering and chair of MSE. “She continues the tradition of excellence epitomized by Maria Goeppert Mayer. Our heartiest congratulations for this well-deserved honor.”

A leader in electronic and photonic materials research and education, Goldman is internationally recognized for elucidating the mechanisms of nanostructure formation in semiconductor fabrication and developing tools to map them at atomic resolution. Her early work on strain relaxation in semiconductors has made a significant impact on the telecommunications and defense industries, with innovations appearing in state-of-the-art infrared cameras used by the military. Goldman’s discovery of a magic alloy, on track to spur the next generation of solar cells, has made its way into congressional testimony during a joint meeting of the Energy and the Science and Technology Subcommittees of the U.S. House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology. Goldman recently pioneered a novel approach to nanoplasmonics and metamaterials, facilitating design of photonic devices ranging from invisibility cloaks to high sensitivity biosensors. Her advances in controlled formation of plasmonic nanoparticles on and beneath surfaces have opened the way for their use in flexible solar cells and light–emitting diodes spanning from the IR to UV spectral ranges.

Goldman has revolutionized the teaching of materials science and engineering with the creation of new courses and laboratory modules in electronic materials.  She also pioneered the incorporation of Writing to Learn (WTL) pedagogies into introductory materials engineering courses. Prof. Goldman has published papers on evaluating the effectiveness of the WTL assignments and their impact on student learning of key foundational concepts in both the Journal of Chemical Education and MRS Communications.

Goldman has authored or co-authored more than 140 publications on processing-structure-property correlations in epitaxial semiconductor films, nanostructures, and heterostructures. She holds a U.S. patent on “ion-cut-synthesis”, a novel approach for simultaneous synthesis and integration of nanocomposite materials with virtually any substrate.  Goldman’s achievements have been recognized with more than 200 invitations to speak at international conferences and highly ranked universities and institutes worldwide.  Goldman has advised 190 students in research, including 41 graduate, 14 postdoctoral, 114 undergraduate and 21 high school students. She also initiated multiple programs to embed high school students into U-M research projects, benefiting more than 150 students. Among Goldman’s advisees, several are pursuing academic careers, while many are employed by industrial and government laboratories.

Professor Goldman’s achievements have been recognized by numerous awards, including the Peter Mark Memorial Award from the AVS Science and Technology Society (formerly the American Vacuum Society), the Augustus Anson Whitney Fellowship from the Radcliffe Institute at Harvard University, and the 50th Anniversary Distinguished Alumna of the Electronic Devices and Materials Group at UC-San Diego. She is an elected fellow of the American Physical Society (APS), the AVS Science and Technology Society, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).  

Professor Goldman is an Associate Editor for the Journal of Applied Physics, and she recently completed a four-year term in the Chair Line of the Division of Materials Physics of the APS.  

Goldman’s professorship namesake, Maria Goeppert Mayer, was a German-born American theoretical physicist, and Nobel laureate in physics for proposing the nuclear shell model of the atomic nucleus. She was the second woman to win a Nobel Prize in physics, the first being Marie Curie.

"I am deeply honored to receive this collegiate professorship named for Maria Goeppert Mayer,” remarked Goldman. “Goeppert Mayer blazed a trail with her ability and persistence. She earned her Ph.D. before turning 25 and made several significant scientific discoveries while overcoming challenging professional circumstances. It is both a joy and obligation to follow her lead, keep her story alive, and help the next generation of students make their own discoveries."

An official installment ceremony honoring Goldman will be held on January 23 in the Johnson Rooms.