Matthews' Family Pledges $500,000
U.Va. School Of
Engineering Receives Gift For Materials Science Lab In Memory Of
John W. Matthews
8, 2001-- The
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.
The gift will support construction
of a 1,000 square-foot laboratory in the planned materials science
building, a research and teaching facility to be built in 2002.
The building also will house conference rooms and faculty offices
and will connect the Materials Science and Chemical Engineering
John Matthews' relationship with
the University began in 1964 when he came to the University as a
postdoctoral researcher working with Doris Kuhlmann-Wilsdorf, University
Professor of Applied Science, wife of the late Heinz Wilsdorf, first
chair of the Department of Materials Science. Matthews already had
distinguished himself by conducting promising research in epitaxy,
an area that underlies much of modern computer technology. Fourteen
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.
Matthews 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 to
the science of epitaxy are still fundamental to computer chip manufacture.
"John was a very creative scientist
with deep insight into how nature works," Jesser says. "He developed
several groundbreaking ideas that still are 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."
Construction of the new materials
science building was assured by a recent $15 million gift from Materials
Science alumnus Gregory Olsen, who obtained his Ph.D. under Jesser
as his first graduate student in epitaxy. The Engineering School
will recommend to the University's Board of Visitors at its April
meeting that the building be named Wilsdorf Hall in honor of Heinz
Wilsdorf and Doris Kuhlmann-Wilsdorf.
Until his death in 1977, Matthews
maintained close professional contacts with the Wilsdorfs and especially
Kuhlmann-Wilsdorf remembers 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 manner."
A recently awarded multi-million-dollar
grant from the National Science Foundation generated plans for a
research building in nanoscience and is the latest result of the
research expertise Matthews established here.
Contact: Fariss Samarrai, (804) 924-3778