What I Do I am currently a professor of materials science and engineering at Northwestern University. My research focuses on the fracture of brittle materials, primarily ceramics, which might be used in high-temperature engine applications. In my laboratory we study how and why materials fail, and study the concepts of how to make brittle materials more resistant to fracture. I teach both graduate and undergraduate students in courses on composite materials and mechanical behavior of materials. Here we explore why materials break or deform and how we can design stronger or tougher or harder materials. I have also had the opportunity to serve as President of the American Ceramic Society, a 6000-member organization of engineers, scientists and manufacturers of ceramic materials.