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Materials scientist and Iron Man David A. Stevenson dies

STANFORD -- Stanford University materials scientist David A. Stevenson died on Sunday, Feb. 6, from lung cancer. He was 65 years old.

Stevenson was a professor of materials science and engineering at Stanford University, where he taught and conducted research for more than 35 years. He also was an accomplished athlete.

Stevenson authored more than 155 scientific papers on solid state electrochemistry, materials synthesis and crystal growth. As a result of his research, he was an early advocate of a class of electronic materials, called compound semiconductors, that are playing an increasingly important role in commercial microelectronics. A number of his students went on to prominent positions in industry and government and have played an influential role in finding applications for these materials.

"Dave made a major contribution to the department when he established the teaching of thermodynamics and phase equilibria 35 years ago," department chair William Nix said. "These subjects have played an increasingly central role in the field of materials science and he brought them to Stanford."

In addition to his academic pursuits, Stevenson always found time for athletic endeavors, including rock climbing, skiing, running, biking and swimming. The ultimate expression of his athleticism was participation in the International Iron Man Competition in Hawaii. He competed in five of these rigorous contests as a senior athlete and several times placed first in his age group.

Stevenson was born Sept. 6, 1928, in Albany, N.Y. He received his bachelor's degree in liberal arts from Amherst College and his doctorate in physical chemistry from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Following a year as a Fulbright Fellow at the University of Munich, he joined the faculty of the Department of Metallurgy at MIT in 1955. Three years later he came to Stanford.

He was a Senior Research Fulbright Fellow at the Max Planck Institute in Germany and a lecturer and visiting scholar at the Atomic Energy Commission in Argentina; the National Institute for Astrophysics, Optics and Electronics in Mexico; and the Central University of Venezuela. He served on the executive committee of the American Society for Metals and on the electronic materials panel of the American Institute of Metallurgical Engineers.

Stevenson is survived by his wife, Fran Sherwood of Los Altos Hills; three children: David Stevenson of St. Joseph, Mo., Karen Schroeder of Petaluma and Cynthia Waslewsky of Vancouver, British Columbia; and five grandchildren.

A memorial service will be scheduled at a later date.



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