Dr. Rick Gottscho, executive vice president of Global Products at Lam, is among the 102 new members honored with election to the National Academy of Engineering (NAE). The rigorous nomination process began in February of 2015 when existing members were invited to nominate new members and concluded in January of this year when the entire membership voted to accept selected nominations.
“Joining the Academy is very well-deserved and esteemed professional recognition for Rick,” says Martin Anstice, Lam Research President and CEO. “Rick’s vision and technological contributions are respected broadly in our industry and, with many years of commitment to excellence on his part, create an invaluable contribution to customer trust. I am delighted for Rick, inspired by his leadership, and indebted to him for his personal commitment to our company.”
One of Rick’s long-time colleagues agrees with Martin’s sentiments: “This is a great honor and recognition. Rick has contributed to Lam’s standing in the industry through his leadership in product development. Our customers trust Lam to help them through the technology transitions and bring us their toughest problems because they, like us, have great respect for Rick’s technical leadership.”
Another employee who first met Rick when she was a graduate student at UC Berkeley and has worked with him at Lam for nearly 15 years adds, “Under his technical and strategic leadership, Lam has developed world-class products for the semiconductor industry. He is a visionary leader with passion for advancement of technology, and it is befitting that he has been elected to the Academy.”
Academy membership honors those who have made outstanding contributions to “engineering research, practice, or education, including, where appropriate, significant contributions to the engineering literature,” and to “the pioneering of new and developing fields of technology, making major advancements in traditional fields of engineering, or developing/implementing innovative approaches to engineering education.” Rick is honored for his contributions to plasma etching technology in scaling semiconductor devices from the micro- to nanometer levels. Among his notable contributions listed in his nomination to the academy: the introduction of pre-coats to stabilize etch reactor conditions enabling superior wafer-to-wafer, lot-to-lot, and chamber-to-chamber reproducibility and dynamic, spatially resolved temperature tuning to improve within-wafer and within-die uniformity.
“Rick created processes that became the foundation of our R&D organization,” says another employee who has worked with Rick at both Lam Research and Bell Labs. “He often asks us to follow a visioning process where we imagine the future we want and then map the steps to achieve it. This structure ensures we identify and resolve issues that are germane to the customer, in a way that dramatically improves customer trust in our ability to deliver on commitments.”
Rick started his career at AT&T Bell Laboratories, where he made pioneering measurements of electric fields and ion transport in processing plasmas. He then headed research departments in packaging, materials, and display technologies. He joined Lam in 1996, working in corporate R&D, plasma chemical vapor deposition (CVD), and etch, before taking his current position as the head of Global Products after the merger with Novellus. He holds a B.S. in chemistry from the Pennsylvania State University and a Ph.D. in physical chemistry from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Also among the NAE elected members are several representatives from Lam’s customers, peer companies, and university collaborators. The 80 new U.S. members and 22 new foreign members announced this week brings the total U.S. membership to 2,275 and the foreign membership to 232. The full list of newly elected members, with their primary affiliations at the time of election and a brief statement of their principal engineering accomplishments, is available on the NAE website.