Dr. Christopher A. Schuh

Head of the Department of Materials Science, MIT

Christopher A. Schuh is the Department Head and the Danae and Vasilis Salapatas Professor of Metallurgy in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at MIT.

Schuh’s academic training in Materials Science and Engineering focused on metals, including their processing, microstructure, and mechanics. He earned his B.S. degree from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1997, and his Ph.D. from Northwestern University in 2001. He held the Ernest O. Lawrence postdoctoral fellowship at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory 2001-2002 before moving to join the faculty at MIT in 2002.

Prof. Schuh’s research is focused on structural metallurgy, and seeks to control disorder in metallic microstructures for the purpose of optimizing mechanical properties; much of his work is on the design and control of grain boundary structure and chemistry. Prof. Schuh has published more than 220 papers and dozens of patents, and received a variety of awards acknowledging his research accomplishments.

Prof. Schuh has co-founded a number of metallurgical companies. His first MIT spin-out company, Xtalic Corporation, commercialized a process from Schuh’s MIT laboratory to control the internal structure in metal electroplated coatings down to the nanometer scale, producing exceptional mechanical and functional properties. These nanocrystalline coatings have been deployed in applications ranging from machine components, to automotive parts, to electronics.

In the latter space, Xtalic coatings have been produced on over 10 billion individual electrical connectors in use worldwide in both enterprise and mobile electronics. Prof. Schuh’s startup Desktop Metal is a metal additive manufacturing company developing 3D metal printers that are sufficiently simpler and lower-cost than current options to enable broad use across many industries. Recently, Schuh co-founded Veloxint Corporation, which is commercializing machine components made from custom nanocrystalline alloys designed in his MIT laboratory, with exceptional properties designed to address the most extreme mechanical situations.

In 2011 Prof. Schuh was appointed Head of the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at MIT, a department comprising about 33 tenure-track faculty, over 100 staff and full-time scientists, 200 graduate students and over 120 undergraduate students. Under his leadership the department enjoyed top world rankings at both undergraduate and graduate levels, expanded its faculty ranks by about 20%, and completed several major space renovation projects defining a central presence for Materials Science and Engineering on the MIT campus, adjacent the Institute’s new materials-centric building project, MIT.nano.

Prof. Schuh currently serves as the Coordinating Editor of the Acta Materialia family of journals, a premier set of scholarly journals for the materials science field, including Acta Materialia, Scripta Materialia, and Acta Biomaterialia. Prof. Schuh has been named a MacVicar Fellow of MIT, acknowledging his contributions to engineering education as being in the top ~0.4% at MIT. In 2015 Schuh was named one of only 100 living Fellows of The Minerals, Metals, and Materials Society.