family gives $500,000
family of the late John W. Matthews, a former postdoctoral researcher
at the University of Virginia and a groundbreaking materials researcher,
has pledged $500,000 in his memory to the School
of Engineering and Applied Science. Matthews, whose son is
the rock music composer and performer Dave Matthews, was an IBM
Corporation research scientist who had a long-term research affiliation
with the Engineering School.
gift will support the construction of a 1,000-square-foot laboratory
in the planned materials science building, a research and teaching
facility to be constructed in 2002. The building also will house
conference rooms and faculty offices, and will connect the Materials
Science and Chemical Engineering buildings.
relationship with the University began in 1964 when he came to
U.Va. as a postdoctoral researcher working with Doris Kuhlmann-Wilsdorf,
University Professor of Applied Science. She was married to the
late Heinz Wilsdorf, first chair of the Engineering School's
department of materials science. Matthews had already distinguished
himself by conducting promising research in epitaxy, an area that
underlies much of modern computer technology. Fifteen years earlier,
as a freshman at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg,
South Africa, Matthews was the top student in the first class
taught by Kuhlmann-Wilsdorf.
later guided William A. Jesser, now chair of the U.Va. Department
of Materials Science, in his Ph.D. research on epitaxy, thereby
establishing this important research area at the University. Matthews'
many contributions are still fundamental to computer chip manufacture.
was a very creative scientist with deep insight into how nature
works," Jesser said. "He came up with a number of groundbreaking
ideas that are still fresh and in use today. He was a very caring
person, and a good friend. I watched his family grow in the 13
years I knew him, and our families became friends."
of the new materials science building was assured by a recent
$15 million gift from materials science alumnus Gregory Olsen,
who earned his Ph.D. under Jesser as his first graduate student
in epitaxy. The Engineering School will recommend to the University's
Board of Visitors that
the building be named Wilsdorf Hall.
his death in 1977, Matthews maintained close professional contacts
with the Wilsdorfs and especially Jesser.
recalls Matthews and Olsen with admiration. "We did some
extraordinary work together in those days, both in labs here at
the University and in South Africa," she says. "I am
moved that the Matthews family would choose to honor John in this
recently awarded multimillion-dollar grant from the National Science
Foundation generated plans for a nanoscience research building
and is the latest result of the research expertise established
here by Matthews.