Neumark Receives Honorary Degree

Gertrude Neumark, Howe Professor Emerita of Materials Science and Engineering, received an Honorary Doctor of Science Degree from Columbia at the University's Commencement ceremonies on Wednesday, May 21. She is one of the world's foremost experts on doping wide band-gap semiconductors and is the first woman to hold a named chair in The Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science.

"Gertrude Neumark is truly one of the pioneers who has helped build our legacy and it is a fitting tribute to her that she will receive this honor from Columbia," said Gerald A. Navratil, Interim Dean of SEAS. "We are grateful to her for her intellectual and academic contributions and her many years of commitment and support of the School."

It was during her research work at SEAS that Dr. Neumark conceived the doping process that has been the basis for devices improving the quality of consumer products ranging from flat screen TVs to mobile phone screens. Commercial uses for blue and shorter-wavelength lasers range from increasing sharpness of a laser printer to increasing the information storage capacity of a DVD. In addition to these lasers, her patented processes led to blue and ultraviolet LEDs (light-emitting diodes), which are now used for computers, traffic lights, instrument panels, as the background color for mobile-phone screens, in multicolor displays, flat screens and in numerous other lighting applications.

Dr. Neumark graduated summa cum laude from Barnard College in 1948, received an M.S. in chemistry from Radcliffe in 1949, and, in 1951, received a Ph.D. in chemistry from Columbia's Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. Dr. Neumark was recently selected as a recipient of Barnard's Distinguished Alumna Award for 2008 for her outstanding achievements in materials science and engineering. She was elected a Fellow of the American Physical Society in 1982, and has been a panelist for the National Research Council. She is one of 83 women whose work appears on the archival website maintained by UCLA entitled, "Contributions of 20th Century Women to Physics." She is also listed in Who's Who in America, Who's Who in Science and Engineering, and American Men and Women of Science. She is the author of more than 140 publications and a contributor to McGraw-Hill Yearbook of Science and Technology.

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