Frank E. Talke to Receive the ASME Medal

NEW YORK, Sept. 25, 2008 – Frank E. Talke, Ph.D., resident of Rancho Santa Fe, Calif., and professor of mechanical engineering and endowed chair at the Center for Magnetic Recording Research at the University of California, San Diego, will be honored by ASME. He is being recognized for lifelong contributions to the understanding of the tribology and mechanics of magnetic recording disk and tape drives, for pioneering efforts in the development of color drop-on-demand inkjet printing technology, and for bridging academic and industrial research. He will receive the Society’s ASME Medal.

The medal, established in 1920, is awarded for eminently distinguished achievement. It will be presented to Talke during the 2008 International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition, which is being held in Boston, Oct. 31 through Nov. 6.

Talke joined the IBM Research and Development Laboratories (San Jose, Calif.) in 1969. Working initially in the area of information storage technology, he investigated mechanics and design problems of hard disk drives. In addition, he studied the design and optimization of magnetic recording sliders and the tribology of contact start/stop, an approach commonly known as Winchester technology. While at IBM, Talke studied mechanics and design problems of tape drives, and pioneered an effort in developing a prototype drop-on-demand color ink jet printer using piezo-electric drivers.

After a one-year sabbatical at Cal-Berkeley, he joined the University of California, San Diego in 1986 as a professor in the department of applied mechanics and engineering science, and accepted an endowed chair at the university’s Center for Magnetic Recording Research. He is the former chair (1993-95) of the department of applied mechanics and engineering science.

Together with his students and co-workers, Talke has been a leader in improving the understanding of the design and tribology of the head/disk and head/tape interface, and in developing instrumentation for studying the head/disk interface characteristics at the nano-scale. He is a pioneer in the application of laser Doppler vibrometry to the measurement of the dynamics of the head/disk interface; the investigation of gray scale interferometry for the measurement of sub-100 nanometer head/disk spacing; and the use of novel lubricants and additives for the head/disk interface.

Talke was the driving force behind a number of collaborative industry-university efforts and pursued joint research projects with researchers in the United States, Japan, Germany, Israel and Korea. Talke and his students are leaders in the areas of high precision instrumentation, mechanical design optimization, interdisciplinary research in data storage technology and the development of new techniques for improving the storage density in magnetic disk drives.

Talke has published over 270 papers in archival journals and holds 11 U.S. patents.

An ASME Fellow, Talke is a member of the Information Storage and Processing Systems (ISPS) Executive Committee. He is past member and chair of the Tribology Division’s Honors and Awards Committee. He served as co-chair of ISPS’07–17th Annual ASME Conference on Information Storage and Processing Systems, and is co-chair of the 2009 Japan Society of Mechanical Engineers/ASME ISPS Joint Conference on Micromechatronics for Information and Precision Equipment which will be held in Japan. He was honored with ASME’s first annual Seagate Information Technology Award in 2002.

Talke was inducted into the National Academy of Engineering in 1999. Other honors include the Max Planck Research Award for International Cooperation (1999) from the Max Planck Society and the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, and the prestigious senior research von Humboldt Prize in 2007. He will be a visiting scholar (Humboldt Fellow) at the Technical University of Munich, Germany, in the fall quarter of 2008.

Talke earned his Dipl.-Ing. at the University of Stuttgart, Germany, in 1965. He received his master’s degree and Ph.D. at the University of California, Berkeley, in 1966 and 1968, respectively. He holds an honorary doctorate from the Technical University of Munich, Germany.

Founded in 1880 as the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, ASME is a not-for-profit professional organization promoting the art, science and practice of mechanical and multidisciplinary engineering and allied sciences. ASME develops codes and standards that enhance public safety, and provides lifelong learning and technical exchange opportunities benefiting the global engineering and technology community.


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