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Hilliard, John E.

 Person

Dates

  • Existence: 1926-1987

Dr. John E. Hilliard was born on May 14, 1926 in London, England. He received his B.E. in Metallurgy in 1947 from Liverpool University with first class honors. Three years later, in 1950, he received his Ph.D. in Metallurgy from the same institution. Along with John Cahn, Hilliard developed the Cahn-Hilliard equation, which explained the phenomenon known as phase separation. In 1962 Hilliard joined the faculty of Northwestern University. His research focused on thermodynamic and kinetic processes, quantitative characterization of structure, spinodal decomposition, and compositionally modulated films.



After completing his doctorate, Hilliard accepted a position at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology as a Research Associate, a position he held until 1956. In that year he left Massachusetts for Schenectady, New York, where he was a Metallurgist at the General Electric Research Laboratory until 1962. Concurrently, he accepted a position as an Adjunct Professor at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in 1957, instructing a one semester graduate course every other year. While at G.E, Hilliard found that he could change the properties of steel through a process of heat-treatment under ultra-high pressure. His stereology research resulted in the first quantitative, three-dimensional picture of sampled materials' structures. This, in turn, led him to invent an instrument, the structure-analyzing machine (SAM). While at General Electric he became life long friends with John Cahn. Together in 1961 they developed a “simple generic equation” to explain the phenomenon known as phase separation. The Cahn-Hilliard equation has become “a pillar of materials science and engineering.” In 1962, Hilliard's impressive accomplishments caught the eye of the Technological Institute at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, where he was appointed Professor of Materials Science in 1962. He was named Walter P. Murphy Professor of Materials Science in 1971.



He did research in four areas: the study of the thermodynamic and kinetic processes in inhomogeneous systems; the quantitative characterization of structure; the theoretical and experimental study of spinodal decomposition; and the synthesis and investigation of compositionally modulated films. Hilliard was a pioneer in the latter two fields, and his publications within these areas were frequently cited by his contemporaries.



In 1968 Hilliard was inducted into the Tau Beta Pi honorary society; he was presented with the Tech Teaching Award in 1970. He wrote or co-wrote more than 100 papers, and co-editor of a book, Local Atomic Arrangements Studied by X-Ray Diffraction. He was affiliated with the American Institute of Mining; Metallurgical and Petroleum Engineers and its Institute of Metals; the International Society of Stereology (for which he served as a Vice President) and the Institute of Metals in London. He was also listed in “Who's Who in America” on several occasions. John Hilliard died on April 17, 1987 in Evanston, Illinois.

Found in 1 Collection or Record:

John E. Hilliard (1926-1987) Papers

 Collection
Identifier: 22/4/15
Abstract John E. Hilliard joined the faculty of Northwestern University's Technological Institute in 1962. His research focused on thermodynamic and kinetic processes, quantitative characterization of structure, spinodal decomposition, and compositionally modulated films. The Papers include Biographical, Correspondence, International Society for Stereology, Teaching, and Research Files.
Dates: 1947-1986