Richard Henry Cooper Memorial Award



Professor Wei Gao has had a very productive and distinguished career in the fields of metallurgy and materials engineering. He graduated BE (Metallic Materials) from Northeastern University, Shenyang, China, ME (Metallurgy and Materials Science) from the Beijing Central Research Institute (BCISRI) in 1981 and DPhil. Oxford University (Dept. of Materials) in 1988.  He worked in the steel industry, Chengdu Steel Inc., Sichuan, for eight years following his  BE and was a lecturer at Chengdu University of Science & Technology, for four years after his ME.  On completion of his DPhil, Wei was a Postdoctoral Researcher (Principal Investigator, Director of Rapid Solidification Laboratory) at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) for four years before joining the Chemical & Materials Engineering Department, University of Auckland in 1992 as a Lecturer. He was rapidly promoted to Senior Lecturer, Associate Professor and a Personal Chair (Professor) in 2002. Professor Gao was awarded the R.J. Scott Medal, by the Royal Society of NZ in 2001, a James Cook Fellowship by the RSNZ in 2006-2009 and was made a Research Professor by the University in 2007. He was Associate Dean, School of Engineering, 1999-2006 and is a Professorial Member of the International Committee, of the University. He is also on the Fellow Selection Committee, 2006-2010, the Awards Selection Committee and coordinator for James Cook Fellowship & RJ Scott Award, of the RSNZ. Wei is a Fellow of the Royal Society of New Zealand and a Fellow of the Institution of Professional Engineers New Zealand (IPENZ).


Professor Gao has always had a very strong research group with active research in the fields of nanostructured materials, light metals and alloys (Mg, Ti & Al), electronic properties, advanced coating and surface technologies, high temperature corrosion & oxidation, oxide thin films, intermetallics, electron microscopy & microanalysis, and computer modelling of materials processing & performance. His research achievements are impressive and most distinguished, having published a total of 620 peer reviewed papers and patents; 336 Journal articles, 10 books, 260 conference proceedings, 14 patents & 98 other reports.  He is Vice President of the International Society of Thin Films; on the International Advisory Board of Oxidation of Metals; Editor, Materials Transaction, Japan Institute of Materials; Advisory Committee of Woodhead Publisher; on the Editorial Board of Key Engineering Materials, Journal of Equipment and Environment Engineering, Journal of High Temperature Materials and Processes and the Editorial Advisory Board of Trends in Corrosion Research. He is also a referee for FRST Foundation, Scripta Materialia, Oxidation of Metals, J. Materials Sci. and Tech. and a number of other journals. Wei has made a contribution to Professional organisations, being secretary to the Society of Materials NZ (1993-1999), a Committee Member of the Australasian Corrosion Association (ACA), a Member of The Materials Research Society (MRS), Member of TMS and AMS International.


Professor Wei Gao has also established very strong relationships within the Asian region and especially China where he has serves on various important committees; Advisory Committee for Distinguished Overseas Chinese (Chinese State Dept.) & Adviser to Chinese Natural Science Award Board. He has also served as an Honorary/Advisory Professor, to Shanghai Jiao Tong University, University of Science and Technology Beijing, Northeastern University, Wuhan University of Technology, Chongyuan University Taiwan, etc.  Wei has also received prestigious awards; Distinguished Materials Scientist, Natural Science Foundation China 2009, Hsun Lee Lecture Award, Chinese Academy of Science 2006 & the W. Mong Fellowship, Hong Kong University, 2002. He is also Associate Director, New Zealand Asia Institute and Honorary Chairman, NZ Chinese Scientist Association.


Professor Wei Gao’s research is not only of a very high quality and fundamental, he also has very strong collaborations with New Zealand companies, with research focussed in application.  He has done research for more than 40 NZ companies, with strong up-take and application. In recent time this work has included; advanced magnesium technologies, piezo optical switches, development of a highly smooth/wear resistant coatings & a piezoelectric regulator.


Since his arrival in New Zealand, Professor Wei Gao has made outstanding contributions to Metallurgical and Materials Engineering in New Zealand, he is most deserving of being nominated for the Richard Henry Cooper Memorial Award.