Thursday, January 31, 2013

Lockheed Medallion Award to Nobel Prize

Discovering the amazing power of plastics
by Teh K.

The proudest moment in my career was when, in 1987, I received the much-coveted Loktek Medallion Award “in recognition of my exceptional contribution to the advancement of technology at Lockheed.” For this award, I also had the honor to give a presentation at the Washington Press Club, in Washington, D.C., at the Lockheed Technology Symposium IX on October 27, 1987, “Electrically Conducting Plastics – New Materials from Aerospace Research.”

At that time, my team was in collaboration with an academic group from the University of Pennsylvania, led by the late Professor Alan G. MacDiarmid. Professor MacDiarmid won a DARPA grant to research the electrical conductivity of plastics, called polyanilines. My team at Lockheed explored the potential applications of these materials for aerospace defense needs. In 2000, nearly 13 years after my Loktek Medallion Award, Professor MacDiarmid was chosen one of the winners of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry by Norway for his pioneering work on conducting plastics. He passed away in 2007. I am forever grateful to have this once-in-lifetime opportunity to stand on his giant shoulders.

Here I am checking the electrical conductivity of a Lockheed-developed plastic.