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Dr. Arden L. Bement Jr. is the David A. Ross Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Nuclear Engineering in the College of Engineering, Purdue University.
He began his academic career with adjunct professorships from the University of Washington and Oregon State University at the Hanford Graduate Center in Richland, Washington (1960–70). From 1970 to 1976 he was a professor of nuclear materials at MIT with joint appointments in the Departments of Nuclear Engineering and Materials Science and Engineering.
He began his tenure at Purdue University in 1993 as the Basil S. Turner Professor of Engineering with joint appointments in the Metallurgical Engineering and Electrical and Computer Engineering Departments. He was later head of the School of Nuclear Engineering (1998–2001) and chief global affairs officer (2010–12). He also held courtesy appointments in the School of Industrial Engineering and the Krannert School of Management.
During his academic career he directed three university-wide research programs: the Fusion Technology Research Program at MIT and, at Purdue University, the Midwest Consortium for High-Temperature Superconductivity (1993–98) and the Global Policy Research Institute (2010–12). He also served as a member of the board of visitors for the National Intelligence University (2012–18), a trustee of the Skolkovo Institute for Science and Technology in Moscow (2012–15), and member of the US-USSR Bilateral Exchange in Magneto-hydrodynamics (1973–75).
He held appointments under six presidents: director of the Office of Materials Science, DARPA (1976–80), deputy undersecretary of defense for research and advanced technology (1979–80), and director of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (2001–04) and National Science Foundation (2004–10).
He served in the US Army Corps of Engineers (1954–92) following his commissioning as a 2nd lieutenant at the Colorado School of Mines until his retirement as lieutenant colonel. He was a councilman and mayor pro tem for the city of Richland (1968–70). On behalf of the US State Department he served on the US National Commission for UNESCO as cochair of the Science and Technology Committee (2004–09), and he was a participant in US delegations to OAS science and technology meetings in Lima (2004), Mexico City (2008), and Panama City (2011); member of the USAID mission to Thailand (1983); head of the US delegation to the dedication of the King Abdullah University for Science and Technology, Saudi Arabia (2010); and US signatory for bilateral exchanges with Norway and France (2008–09). On behalf of the UN International Atomic Energy Agency he was technical advisor for both the National Research Council of Taiwan and the National Institute of Atomic Energy, Mexico (1970–75).
In his industrial career Dr. Bement was a senior research fellow at the AEC Hanford Laboratories operated by General Electric Company (1954–65), manager of the Metallurgy Research Department and Fuels and Materials Department at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory operated by the Battelle Memorial Institute (1965–70), and vice president for technical resources and chief science and technical officer for TRW (1980–93). He has also held board directorships at the Keithley Instrument Company (1984–97), the Lord Corporation (1987–2001), and Radian Research Inc. (since 2011).
For his achievements in government, industry, and academia, Dr. Bement has received several national and international honors and distinctions. He received the White House Distinguished Federal Executive Award (1980), the Department of Defense Distinguished Civilian Service Medal (1980), and the Department of Commerce William C. Redman Award (1995). He is a member of the National Academy of Engineering and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Over his 37 years of membership in the NAE, he has been active in a variety of capacities. He chaired the NRC Materials Advisory Board and the Commission for Engineering and Technical Studies (1986–92) and participated in 21 study committees, of which he chaired or cochaired 8 and served as report review monitor for 3.
He has received honorary doctorates from seven universities in the United States, Korea, and China. He was inducted as an honorary member of the graduate faculty at the Chinese Academy of Sciences (2008), awarded the Order of the Rising Sun with Gold and Silver Star by the emperor of Japan (2009), the Order of the Legion of Honor with rank of chevalier by the president of France (2011), and Chieftain of the Sagamores of the Wabash by the governor of Indiana (2012).
He holds an engineer of metallurgy degree from the Colorado School of Mines, and a master’s degree from the University of Idaho and PhD from the University of Michigan, both in metallurgical engineering.