Thermo-Calc Software Supporting University New Professorship at MIT

Thermo-Calc Software are supporting a new professorship at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering, the Thermo-Calc Professor of the Practice. The position aims to bring in someone with an advanced career in industry, such as a CEO, to provide practical experience at a high level in the area of computational materials science. Professor Gregory B. Olson, Co-founder of QuesTek Innovations, has been selected as the first Thermo-Calc Professor of the Practice, to begin in January 2020.  

Professor Olson has a strong background in academia, having held a tenured professorship at Northwestern University for over 30 years, but it is his experience in industry that earned him the Thermo-Calc Professor of the Practice position at MIT. In 1997, Professor Olson founded QuesTek Innovations, the first company dedicated to designing materials through computational engineering. In his work at the company, Professor Olson developed systems for rapid material design using computational tools. Using these systems, QuesTek Innovations developed the first documented commercial success in computational steel design and has since grown into a global leader in ICME, leading many to consider Professor Olson the father of Integrated Computational Materials Engineering (ICME). 

Read an interview with Prof. Olson

The new Thermo-Calc Professor of the Practice position aims to bring in experts such as Professor Olson, who have created their own successful practice, to teach about the entrepreneurial side of materials science and engineering. Professor Olson’s success in co-founding and building a world-renowned company will allow him to teach beyond the classroom and focus his curriculum on what has been successful in industry. Moreover, his expertise in CALPHAD and computational materials engineering introduces a branch of materials science that has not been a recent focus of the department, namely using computational tools to design and develop new alloys and materials processes. 

The sponsorship of this new position adds to a long list of support that Thermo-Calc Software has given to academia. The company grew out of three joint dissertation projects at the KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm, Sweden, and remains closely linked to its academic roots. The majority owner of Thermo-Calc Software is the non-profit foundation “Stiftelsen för Tillämpad Termodynamik” (STT), the purpose of which is to support research in the field of computational thermodynamics. STT achieves this goal by annually distributing scholarships to young researchers who are active in the field. This goal is further met through the company by providing educational resources developed in collaboration with KTH Royal Institute of Technology. Thermo-Calc Software also actively supports university research programs in Sweden, the United States and China and provides numerous training programs, educational videos, webinars and workshops to be used in both undergraduate, post-graduate and continuing workforce development.