Brian R. Lawn gained B.Sc. and Ph.D. degrees in Physics at the University of Western Australia in 1959 and 1963, respectively. After graduating, he spent four years as a Postdoctoral Fellow in the School of Physics at the University of Bristol and the Department of Engineering and Materials Science at Brown University. From 1968 to 1981 Dr. Lawn was a professor in Physics at the University of New South Wales. During this period he spent several periods of study leave in the Department of Materials Science at the University of Sussex and in the Ceramics Division at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (then the National Bureau of Standards). In 1981 Dr. Lawn joined the National Institute of Standards and Technology permanently, and in 1987 was appointed to the position of NIST Fellow. He has held Adjunct Professor appointments at Lehigh and Carnegie Mellon Universities, the University of Maryland, the University of Western Australia and Curtin University (Australia), and Xi’an Jiatong University (China).
Dr. Lawn is the author of the text “Fracture of Brittle Solids,” first published in 1975 and now in its second edition. He has published over 300 research papers, with an h-index of 65. Dr. Lawn is the recipient of several awards from The American Ceramic Society, and was journal editor in 1984-86. He was awarded an Honorary Doctorate in Engineering by the University of Western Australia in 2008. In 2001 he was elected to the U.S. National Academy of Engineering, and in 2012 to the Australian Academy of Science.