David Turnbull (1915-2007). Pioneer of the kinetics of phase transformations in condensed matter
Entry by Emily Redston, AP 225, Fall 2011
Work in progress
David Turnbull (1915-2007). Pioneer of the kinetics of phase transformations in condensed matter by F. Spaepen and M.J. Aziz, Nature Materials 6: 556 (2007).
We have frequently discussed the importance of phase diagrams in class. However, while these equilibrium diagrams are undeniably useful in themselves, it is oftentimes important to think about how the kinetics of a system will effect these diagrams. David Turnbull is one in a line of distinguished physical chemists, going back to J. W. Gibbs, who have profoundly influenced materials science. His work laid the basis of our understanding of the kinetics of phase transformations in condensed matter. In particular, he showed how a quirky, complex phenomenon like crystal nucleation could yield exciting and rigorous science. He also made key contributions to grain- boundary diffusion, fast diffusion of noble metals in semiconductors and polyvalent metals, crystal growth, grain growth and recrystallization.