Adrian Carl Wright, ACerS Distinguished Life Member and ACerS Fellow, died on March 22, 2023, at the age of 79. Wright, who dedicated his research career to understanding glass structure, was a member of the Glass & Optical Materials Division and also active in the Society for Glass Technology, where he served as the 49th president from 2002–2004.
Wright was professor of amorphous solid-state physics at the University of Reading, U.K. He earned his B.Sc. in chemistry, Ph.D. in physical chemistry, and D.Sc. degrees from the University of Bristol, U.K. After completing his Ph.D. studies, he took a position in 1969 at the University of Reading, where he remained until his retirement.
He began his career as ICI Postdoctoral Research Fellow, advancing to senior research physicist. In 1973, he was appointed lecturer in physics, before being promoted to reader in amorphography. He retired as professor emeritus in 2007.
He spent three sabbatical years in the United States working at leading institutions, including Xerox Palo Alto Research Center; Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Laboratory; Argonne National Laboratory; University of California, Los Angeles; University of Florida; and New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred University.
Wright pioneered use of neutron scattering and modeling studies to understand the structure and dynamics of a wide range of inorganic glasses and other amorphous solids, including silicate, borate, borosilicate, phosphate, chalcogenide, and fluoroberyllate glasses. He has more than 200 publications in the scientific literature, and he sat on the editorial boards of Journal of Non-Crystalline Solids and Fizika i Khimiya Stekla (Soviet/Russian Journal of Glass Physics and Chemistry).
“He was the consummate scientist and had many original ideas. He was productive until the end of his life,” says colleague Steve Feller, B.D. Silliman Professor of Physics at Coe College, Iowa.
Wright received several prestigious awards, including Fellow in 1995 of both ACerS and the Society of Glass Technology. In 1990, he shared the Worshipful Company of Glass Sellers of London Award, and in 1996, he received the ACerS Glass & Optical Materials Division George W. Morey Award for his establishment of the field of amorphography. He presented the 2006 Samuel R. Scholes Lecture at the New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred University, and he was made an Honorary Fellow of the Society of Glass Technology in 2009.
Most recently, he shared the 2012 Otto Schott Research Award for “his lifelong outstanding scholarly work devoted to the experimental study of glass structure in general.” In 2014, he presented the ACerS Edward Orton Jr. Memorial Lecture, titled “My borate life: An enigmatic journey,” at the Materials Science & Technology Conference in Pittsburgh, Pa. He served on the Steering Committee and Council of the International Commission on Glass. The 6th International Conference on Borate Glasses, Crystals & Melts (Himeji, Japan, Aug. 18–22, 2008) was held in his honor to mark his retirement. In 2016, he was designated an ACerS Distinguished Life Member.