Richard W. Siegel

Richard W. Siegel
Robert W Hunt Professor (retired)
Materials Science and Engineering

Richard W. Siegel PhD was the Robert W. Hunt Professor of Materials Science and Engineering at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute from June 1995 through his retirement from RPI at the end of December 2021, He was Department Head from 1995 to 2000, and the founding Director of both the Rensselaer Nanotechnology Center (2001-15) and the US National Science Foundation funded Nanoscale Science and Engineering Center for Directed Assembly of Nanostructures (2001-13). He was graduated from Williams College in 1958 with an AB degree in physics and received an MS degree in physics in 1960 and a PhD degree in metallurgy in 1965 from the University of Illinois in Urbana. After two years of postdoctoral materials research at Cornell University, Siegel served on the faculty of the State University of New York at Stony Brook (1966-76) in the Department of Materials Science. He was a research scientist in the Materials Science Division at Argonne National Laboratory from 1974 to 1995, serving most of that time as group leader and research program manager in the areas of metal physics or defects in metals.
Dr. Siegel has been a visiting professor in Germany, Israel, India, Switzerland, Japan and China, and has been active in local, national, and international professional organizations. He was a member (2003-09) of the Nanotechnology Technical Advisory Group of the US President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology. He chaired the World Technology Evaluation Center worldwide study of nanostructure science and technology (1996-98) for the US government that led in 2001 to the US National Nanotechnology Initiative, was chairman of the Long-Range Planning Committee and a Councillor of the Materials Research Society, and is a past chairman (1992-96) of the International Committee on Nanostructured Materials. Siegel earlier served on the US National Materials Advisory Board Committee on Materials with Sub-Micron Sized Microstructures and was co-chairman of the Study Panel on Clusters and Cluster-Assembled Materials for the US Department of Energy. He has been active in community service as well. From 1983 to 1991 he served on the Governing and Executive Boards of the two-county wide DuPage/West Cook Regional Special Education Association in Illinois and also as an elected member of the Hinsdale Township High School District 86 Board of Education, serving from 1987 to 1991 as President of the Board.
Active in materials research for over 50 years, Siegel studied the properties of defects in metals, atomic diffusion, and the synthesis, processing, characterization, properties, and applications of nanostructured ceramics, metals, composites, and biomaterials. Dr. Siegel’s research activities have garnered over $60 million in funding from federal, state, industry, and private sponsors. He has authored or co-authored more than 300 articles and patents (21 issued in the US), edited ten books, presented more than 500 invited lectures worldwide on these subjects, and founded and led (2001-21) Rensselaer’s Molecularium® Project, serving as Executive Producer of its award-winning educational media. Dr. Siegel’s work is highly cited with almost 20,000 citations and an h-index of 71 as of January 2022; he was listed in ScienceWatch as the fourth-most highly cited author worldwide in materials science during 1990-94 and among the top 100 (0.02%) during 2000-10. He was a founding Editor of Nanostructured Materials, an associate editor of Materials Letters for 25 years, and a member of the Editorial Boards of the Journal of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology and the Journal of Metastable and Nanocrystalline Materials. Siegel is a founder and Director of Nanophase Technologies Corporation, a publicly held manufacturing company started in 1989; his early work with them was recognized by a 1991 US Federal Laboratory Consortium Award for Excellence in Technology Transfer. In 1992 he was made an Honorary Member of the Materials Research Society of India "in recognition of his outstanding contributions to the field of Materials Science and Engineering" and in 1993 he was made an Honorary Member of the Materials Research Society of Japan. In 1994, Dr. Siegel was named a recipient of an Alexander von Humboldt Foundation Senior Research Award in Germany in recognition of his research and teaching accomplishments. He presented the 1996 D.K.C. MacDonald Lecture in Canada. In 2001, Dr. Siegel was named a RIKEN Eminent Scientist in Japan, and in 2003 in Germany he received a Deutsche Bank Prize “Pioneer of Nanotechnology – Nanomaterials”. Dr. Siegel was named a Fellow of the Materials Research Society in 2010, the American Institute of Medical and Biological Engineering in 2015, and the National Academy of Inventors in 2017.

Selected Scholarly Works

Shrivastava, S., Nuffer, J. H., Siegel, R. W., and Dordick, J. S., “Position-specific Chemical Modification and Quantitative Proteomics Disclose Protein Orientation Adsorbed on Silica Nanoparticles”, Nano Letters 12, 1583-1587 (2012)

Gagner, J. E., Qian, X., Lopez, M., Dordick, J. S., and Siegel, R. W., “Effect of Gold Nanoparticle Structure on the Conformation and Function of Adsorbed Proteins”, Biomaterials 33, 8503-8516 (2012)

Gagner, J. E., Shrivastava, S., Qian, X., Dordick, J. S., and Siegel, R. W., “Engineering Nanomaterials for Biomedical Applications Requires Understanding the Nano-Bio Interface ­– A Perspective”, J. Physical Chemistry Letters 3, 3149-3158 (2012) INVITED

Poxson, D. J., Mont, F. W., Cho, J., Schubert, E. F., and Siegel, R. W., “Tailored Nanoporous Coatings Fabricated on Conformable Polymer Substrates”, ACS Applied Materials and Interfaces 4, 6295-6301 (2012)

Tao, P., Li, Y., Siegel, R. W., and Schadler, L. S., “Transparent Luminescent Silicone Nanocomposites Filled with Bimodal PDMS-Brush-Grafted CdSe Quantum Dots”, Journal of Materials Chemistry C 1, 86-94 (2013)

Tao, P., Viswanath, A., Li, Y., Siegel, R. W., Benicewicz, B., and Schadler, L. S., “Bulk Transparent Epoxy Nanocomposites Filled with Poly(glycidyl methacrylate) Brush-Grafted TiO2 Nanoparticles”, Polymer 54, 1639-1646 (2013)

Tao, P., Li, Y., Siegel, R. W., and Schadler, L. S., “Transparent Dispensible High-Refractive Index ZrO2/Epoxy Nanocomposites for LED Encapsulation”, J. Applied Polymer Science 130, 3785-3793 (2013)

Shrivastava, S., McCallum, S. A., Nuffer, J. H., Qian, X., Siegel, R. W., and Dordick, J. S., “Identifying Specific Protein Residues that Guide Surface Interactions and Orientation on Silica Nanoparticles”, Langmuir 29, 10841-10849 (2013)

Qian, X., Levenstein, A., Gagner, J. E., Dordick, J. S., and Siegel, R. W., “Protein Immobilization in Hollow Nanostructures and Investigation of the Adsorbed Protein Behavior”, Langmuir 30, 1295-1303 (2014)

Lavenus, S., Poxson, D. J., Ogievetsky, N., Dordick, J. S., and Siegel, R. W., “Stem Cell Behavior on Tailored Porous Oxide Surface Coatings”, Biomaterials 55, 96-109 (2015)

Siegel, R. W., “Fundamentals of Nanoscale Materials and Technology”, in Webster, T.J. (ed.), Nanomedicine, The Biomedical & Life Sciences Collection, Henry Stewart Talks Ltd, London, 2015 (online at

Qian, X., Rameshbabu, U., Dordick, J. S., and Siegel, R. W., “Selective Characterization of Proteins on Nanoscale Concave Surfaces”, Biomaterials 75, 305-312 (2016)