After completing a two-year degree in the natural sciences in India, Rishi Raj traveled to England for the B.Sc. in Electrical Engineering which was received in 1964 with First Class Honors and two prizes. After a year in London employed at Standard Telephones and Cables (working on a control system for the Concorde) he came to Harvard. Under the mentorship of Mike Ashby and David Turnbull he graduated with the Ph.D. from the Division of Engineering and Applied Physics in 1970, whereupon he joined Kennecott Copper in Cleveland, OH. A year later Dr. Raj became an Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Colorado at Boulder, a position to which he returned in 1996 after spending 21 years in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at Cornell University in Ithaca, NY. It was there that he published significantly in ceramics, first in mechanical properties and then processing of oxides and non-oxides at high temperatures.
Over the last fifteen years of so at Colorado Dr. Raj’s research has concentrated on the unusual properties and nanostructure of polymer-derived-ceramics, and more recently on the influence of electrical fields on defect phenomena in ceramics at high temperature. His work is mutating into manufacturing science of ceramic materials. He is what he is from the sharing of knowledge, often in long, intense conversations, with untold number of scientists throughout the world who remain his friends both intellectually and socially. He is grateful to them.