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Richard LeSar
Iowa State University

Richard LeSar is a Professor in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at Iowa State University, having been appointed as the Lynn Gleason Professor of Interdisciplinary Engineering in 2011. LeSar earned his B.S. in Chemistry from the University of Michigan and his A.M. (Physics) and Ph.D. (Chemical Physics) from Harvard University. After graduate school, he went to Los Alamos National Laboratory, first as a Postdoctoral Fellow and then as a Technical Staff Member. In addition to his research activities, while at Los Alamos LeSar held a number of administrative positions, in both program and line management. In 2006, LeSar moved to Iowa State University as the Chair of the Materials Science and Engineering Department, leaving the Chair position in 2012 and returning as Chair from December 2017 through December 2020. LeSar’s research uses computational methods to study the properties of materials. He has a long-term interest in multiscale models, with work spanning from electronic structure methods to theoretical mechanics. His current work is focused primarily on the development of multiscale simulations, focusing on a range of topics including plasticity and additive manufacturing, with an increasing focus on machine learning as applied in materials research. He has a strong focus on curriculum development, having created and taught a study-abroad program held in a small village in Mali, being the co-originator of the University-wide Minor in Sustainability, as well as one of its core classes Globalization and Sustainability, which he teaches yearly. He served on the National Academy Committee on Integrated Computational Materials Engineering and is a former member of the U.S. Air Force Science Advisory Board. He also served as an Associate Editor of the Annual Review of Materials Research and as a Principal Editor of MRS Communications. LeSar is a Fellow of both the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the American Physical Society. He is currently writing the second edition of his textbook, Introduction to Computational Materials Science, published by Cambridge University Press.

USAID Profile

Bureau for Development, Democracy, and Innovation
Center for Education

Richard LeSar is a Jefferson Science Fellow in USAID’s Center for Education (EDU) in the Bureau for Development, Democracy, and Innovation (DDI). The Center for Education works to achieve a world in which education systems in partner countries enable all individuals to acquire the education and skills needed to be productive members of society. At the Center, Richard works on Higher Education activities, with a focus on research studies that advance the Higher Education Learning Agenda. For example, Richard works on research that explores the roles that Higher Education Institutions play in a country's innovation ecosystem. Richard has also been active in helping to craft the Center's inputs to USAID's new Climate Strategy.