Professor Robert O. Ritchie (Former Senior Fellow)

Senior Fellow of Hong Kong Institute for Advanced Study, City University of Hong Kong

Professor at the University of California, Berkeley

Member of the US National Academy of Engineering

Fellow of the Royal Society, UK

Foreign Member of the Russian Academy of Sciences

Professor Robert O. Ritchie (Former Senior Fellow)

Contact Information

Web: Personal Homepage
Professor Robert O. Ritchie is the H.T. & Jessie Chua Distinguished Professor of Engineering, Professor in the Department of Materials Science & Engineering, and Professor of Mechanical Engineering at the University of California, Berkeley. He is also Senior Faculty Scientist in the Materials Sciences Division of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, and an affiliated member of the UCSF/UC Berkeley Bioengineering group. He was Chairman of the UC Berkeley Materials Science & Engineering Department from 2005 to 2011.

Professor Ritchie received a B.A. degree (double first class honors) in physics and metallurgy in 1969, the M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in Materials Science in 1973, and the Doctor of Science (Sc.D.) degree in 1990, all from Cambridge University. Following periods as the Goldsmith's Research Fellow in Materials Science at Churchill College, Cambridge (1972-1974) and as a Miller Research Fellow for Basic Research in Science at the University of California in Berkeley (1974-1976), he joined the faculty in Mechanical Engineering at M.I.T. where he became the Class of 1922 Associate Professor in 1979. In 1981, he returned to Berkeley where he has been Professor of Materials Science since 1982. He was also Deputy Director of the Materials Sciences Division at the Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory from 1990 to 1994, and Director of the Center for Advanced Materials there from 1987 to 1995.

He has served as a consultant for both government and industry, including for Alcan, Allison, Boeing, Chevron, Exxon, GE, GM, Google, Grumman Aerospace, Instron, JPL, Northrop, Rockwell, Rolls-Royce, Sunpower, Teledyne, Westinghouse and numerous legal firms. He has also acted as a consultant in the medical field to Abbott Vascular, ATS Medical, Baxter, Cordis, Carbomedics, Edwards, Guidant, CV Medical, Medstone, NDC, Shiley, Sorin, and St. Jude Medical, on the mechanical integrity of cardiac valves, endovascular stents and other prosthetic devices. He is a World Premier Institute Professor at the International Institute for Carbon-Neutral Energy Research, Kyushu University, Japan, a member of the Rolls-Royce Materials, Manufacturing & Structures Advisory Board in the U.K., and has served on several National Research Council Committees including "Advanced Space Technology" and "Small Spacecraft Technology".


  • B.A. (Physics & Metallurgy), Cambridge University, UK, 1969
  • M.A. (Materials Science), Cambridge University, UK, 1973
  • Ph.D. (Materials Science), Cambridge University, UK, 1973
  • Sc.D. (Materials Science), Cambridge University, UK, 1990

Professional Experience

  • Professor of Mechanical Engineering, University of California at Berkeley, 2010 to date
  • Professor of Materials Science, University of California at Berkeley, 1982 to date
  • Faculty Senior Scientist, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, 1984 to date
  • Honorary Visiting Professor, School of Physics, Bristol University, UK, 2016 to date
  • Senior Fellow, Institute for Advanced Study, City University, Hong Kong, 2016 to date
  • Honorary Professor, Xi’an Jiatong, University, Xi’an, China, 2015 to date
  • Hononary Professor, Beihang University, China, 2009 to date
  • Hononary Professor, Central South University, China, 2010 to date
  • Hononary Professor, University of Birmingham, UK, 2011 to date
  • Head, Ceramic Materials, Materials Sciences Division, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, 2003-2006
  • Head, Structural Materials, Materials Sciences Division, LawrenceBerkeley National Laboratory, 1995-2003
  • Honorary Visiting Professor, University of Plymouth, UK, 1992-2002
  • Director, Center for Advanced Materials, LawrenceBerkeley Laboratory, 1987-95
  • Deputy Director, Materials Sciences Division, LawrenceBerkeley Laborator, 1990-94
  • Visiting Professor, Tokyo Institute of Technology, Tokyo, Japan, 1994
  • Class of 1922 Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA, 1979-81
  • Assistant Professor, 1977-78; Associate Professor, 1978-81; Department of Mechanical Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA
  • Miller Research Fellow, University of California at Berkeley, 1974-76
  • Goldsmith's Research Fellow, Churchill College, Cambridge University, UK, 1972-74

Major Research Areas

  • Advanced metallic alloys: metallic glasses and high-entropy alloys
  • In situ, under load, high-temperature computed tomography: Ceramic-matrix composites (SiC-SiC), nuclear graphite
  • Nature-inspired structural materials
  • Mechanical behavior of hard mineralized tissue: bone, teeth;
  • High-cycle fatigue of turbine engine alloys: Ti-6Al-4V; Ni-base alloys; grain-boundary engineering;
  • Fatigue and fracture of ceramic and intermetallic materials: Toughening mechanisms in monolithic and composite materials (e.g., SiC, gamma-TiAl); layered structures; mechanisms of fatigue-crack propagation at ambient to elevated temperatures; role of microstructure;
  • Ceramic/metal interfaces: Fracture mechanics of bimaterial interfaces; strength and toughness of interfaces; interfacial subcritical crack growth; crack path considerations;
  • Damage-tolerance and life prediction in biomedical implants: Fracture and fatigue properties of metallic and pyrolytic carbon materials for stents and prosthetic heart valve devices;
  • Fracture and fatigue of silicon films for MEMS devices: Micro- and nano-scale fatigue testing; protective coatings;
  • Mechanical propertites of carbon nanotubes
  • Fracture and fatigue in shape-memory alloys and bulk amorphous metals

Awards and Fellowships

  • Fellow (Foreign Member) of the Royal Society (FRS), London, UK, 2017
  • Morris Cohen Award (TMS), 2017
  • Member of the European Academy of Sciences, 2015
  • Acta Materialia Gold Medal, 2014
  • Foreign Member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Engineering Sciences, 2013
  • David Turnbull Award (MRS), 2013
  • Life Member of TMS, 2012
  • Foreign Member of the Russian Academy of Sciences, 2011
  • A. Cemel Eringen Medal (Society of Engineering Science), 2010
  • Fellow of the Materials Research Society, 2010
  • Robert Franklin Mehl Award (TMS), 2010
  • Edward DeMille Campbell Memorial Lectureship Award (ASM), 2010
  • Alexander von Humboldt Senior U.S. Scientist Award, 2009
  • Sir Alan Cottrell Gold Medal (International Congress on Fracture), 2009
  • Fellow of the American Ceramic Society, 2009
  • Fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME), 2009
  • A.A. Griffith Medal and Prize (Institute of Materials, London, UK), 2007
  • Woehler Medal (European Structural Integrity Society), 2006
  • Nadai Medal (ASME), 2004
  • Fellow of TMS, 2004
  • ASTM Fatigue Lecturer, 2004
  • Fellow of the Institute of Physics, UK, 2003
  • Fellow, RoyalAcademy of Engineering, UK, 2002
  • Member, National Academy of Engineering, 2001
  • Honorary Member of Gruppo Italiano Frattura (Italian Fracture Group), 1999
  • Distinguished Structural Materials Scientists / Engineer Award (TMS), 1996
  • Rosenhain Medal, Institute of Materials, London, UK, 1992
  • Most Outstanding Scientific Accomplishment Award in Ceramics, Dept. of Energy, 1989
  • Honorary Fellow, International Congress on Fracture, 1989
  • Fellow, Amercian Society for Materials (ASM Intl.) 1988
  • Curtis W. McGraw Research Award, American Society of Engineering Education, 1987
  • George R. Irwin Medal, American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM), 1985
  • Champion H. Mathewson Gold Medal, TMS-AIME, 1985
  • Named as one of America's Top 100 Young Scientists by Science Digest magazine, 1984
  • Fellow, Institute of Materials, London, UK, 1983
  • Most Outstanding Scientific Accomplishment Award: Metallurgy, Dept. of Energy, 1982
  • Marcus A. Grossman Award, Amercian Society for Metals (ASM), 1980

Named Lectures

  • Air Products Distinguished Lecturer (Pennsylvania State University), 2014
  • 19th Annual James F. Bell Lecturer (Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD), 2013
  • Brotz Lecturer (Marquette University, Milwaukee, WI), 2011
  • JP Den Hartog Memorial Lecturer (MIT, Cambridge, MA), 2011
  • University of Miami, College of Engineering Distinguished Speaker (Miami, FL), 2010
  • George Weatherly Distinguished Lecture (Composites at Lake Louise, Canada), 2009
  • ICF-12 Honor Lecture (International Congress on Fracture, Ottawa, Canada), 2009
  • Stanford & Betty Penner Lecture (University of California, San Diego), 2008
  • Frontiers of Engineering Distinguished Lecture (Hong KongPolytechnicUniversity), 2007
  • Hong Kong Society of Theoretical & Applied Mechanics Distinguished Lecture (HKUST), 2007, 2010, 2013
  • Dow Lecture (Northwestern University, Evanston, IL), 2007
  • Arthur Newell Talbot Lecture (Theor. & Appl. Mech., University of Illinois), 2006
  • Hsun Kee Lecture Award (Institute of Metals Research, Shenyang, China), 2006
  • Kreidl Memorial Lecture (Sandia and Los Alamos National Laboratories), 2005
  • IBM Distinguished Lecturer (Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute), 2004
  • C. J. Beevers Memorial Lecturer, International Fatigue Congress, 1999
  • Southwest Mechanics Series Lecturer, 1997-98
  • Van Horn Distinguished Lecturer (CaseWestern ReserveUniversity), 1997

Selected Professional Activities

  • Member, Scientific Advisory Board, Advanced Light Source, LBNL, 2013 to date
  • World Premier Institute Professor, International Institute for Carbon-Neutral Energy Research, Kyushu University, Japan, 2011 to date
  • Member, Rolls-Royce Materials & Structures Advisory Board, 2011 to date
  • Departmental Academic Advisor, Department of Mechanical Engineering, Hong Kong Polytechnic University, 2009 to date
  • President, International Congress on Fracture, 1997-2001
  • Member, U.C. San Francisco/U.C. Berkeley Bioengineering Faculty, 1995 to date
  • Member, National Research Council Committees on Advanced Space Technology, 1992-1994, Small Spacecraft Technology, 1993-1994, and New Materials for Civil Aircraft, 1994-1995
  • Governor, International Congress on Mechanical Behavior of Materials, 1987-95
  • Associate Editor, Materials Transactions, 2001 to date; Engineering Fracture Mechanics, 2000 to date; Transactions of ISI Japan International, 1997 to date; Engineering Failure Analysis, 1994 to date; Physiochemical Mechanics of Materials, 1993 to date; Mechanics of Materials, 1987 to date; Fatigue & Fracture of Engineering Materials & Structures, 1979 to date; International Journal of Fatigue, 2002 to date; International Journal of Fracture, 2002 to date; Journal of Engineering Materials & Technology, 1984-90; Journal of Science and Technology of Advanced Materials, 1999 to date; Metallurgical Transactions, 1982-92
  • Co-chairman, Gordon Research Conference on Physical Metallurgy, 1992