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  • RMS President to be Announced at Society’s Flagship Event - mmc2019
    Professor Grace Burke RMS President

RMS President to be Announced at Society’s Flagship Event - mmc2019

Jun 21 2019 Read 406 Times

During mmc2019 the RMS will officially announced the appointment of Professor Grace Burke as its new figurehead - the fourth female president of the world’s oldest microscopy society.

A pioneering research scientist with a wealth of experience on both sides of the Atlantic, Grace, who will also be the society’s first female president from the physical sciences field, is currently Director of the Materials Performance Centre at the University of Manchester. She obtained her BS degree in Metallurgical Engineering at the University of Pittsburgh, before completing a PhD in Metallurgy at Imperial College London.

She has around 30 years’ experience as a research scientist in the United States, including US Steel Research Laboratory, the Westinghouse Science and Technology Centre and the (Westinghouse/Bechtel) Bettis Atomic Power Laboratory. During her time at Bettis, she became the first woman Consultant in the history of the Laboratory, performing research on structural materials for nuclear power systems.

“I am looking forward to working with our RMS members via our very active Committees as well as encouraging all of our members, especially students and early career researchers, to get involved with our diverse activities and programmes.”

Grace, who has an extensive background in analytical electron microscopy and atom probe field-ion microscopy, emphasised the key role played by microscopy societies that bring together scientists from very different fields.

She said: “Such societies have been at the forefront of bio-nano research activities in that it is through detailed structural analysis, particularly microscopy and microanalysis, that researchers broaden their interactions. As a materials scientist and metallurgist, I would never have had the opportunity to interact with my microscopy colleagues in the life sciences, had it not been for the excellent opportunities afforded by such interdisciplinary microscopy-oriented conferences.

“The future of any society depends on its members, and particularly in attracting new, motivated people who recognise the importance of microscopy and microstructural/ultrastructural characterisation in science.   I am very keen to attract, encourage and promote young members - student and early career - in the RMS and support their activities, as they will become the future leaders of the Society as it moves towards its bicentennial in 2039.”

In 2011 Grace ‘crossed the pond’ once more to become Professor of Materials Performance and Director of the Materials Performance Centre at the University of Manchester. With its focus on understanding materials behaviour in nuclear power systems, it was a perfect fit for Grace’s research background. In April 2012, she was also asked to become Director of the Electron Microscopy Centre in the School of Materials, which she led for more than four years, overseeing major changes in the Centre in terms of equipment, training and operations.

Her research group continues its activities in multiple areas, including irradiation damage, stress corrosion cracking and environment-sensitive behaviour of steels and Ni-base alloys as well as in situ analytical TEM. She still loves to work on the microscopes and tries to do so whenever she can!

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