Electrical engineering's Uchino receives prestigious International Ceramic Prize


UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – Kenji Uchino, professor of electrical engineering and director of the International Center for Actuators and Transducers at Penn State, was recently selected as the recipient of the 2016 International Ceramic Prize.

The prize is awarded by the World Academy of Ceramics in Italy every four years to recognize recent important achievements in ceramics science and technology. Only 20 people internationally, have received this honor.

Uchino was selected “for the outstanding contribution to piezoelectric ceramics including the discovery of lead magnesium niobate-based electrostrictive materials, relaxor-lead titanate-based piezoelectric single crystals and the invention of cofired multilayer piezoelectric actuators.”

Uchino is one of the pioneers of piezoelectric actuators—precision ceramic actuators which convert electrical energy into mechanical energy, or movement—which he began researching while earning his Ph.D. from the Tokyo Institute of Technology in Japan. While working as a research associate and assistant professor for 10 years in the physical electronics department at his alma mater, he moved to Sophia University as associate professor for 8 years. Then, he was recruited by Penn State in 1991 because of his great contribution to the piezoelectric actuators.  

While at Penn State, Uchino has built his expertise in dielectrics, ferroelectrics, piezo-electrics, device design/fabrication, solid-state actuators, transducers, positioners and ultrasonic motors. His work led him to discover lead magnesium niobate-based electrostricive materials, cofired multilayer piezoelectric actuators, superior piezoelectricity in relaxor-lead titanate-based piezoelectric single crystals, photostrictive phenomenon, shape memory ceramics, magnetoelectric composite sensors, transient response control scheme of piezoelectric actuators, micro ultrasonic motors, multilayer disk piezoelectric transformers and piezoelectric loss characterization methodology.

Uchino has authored 520 papers and 68 books and holds 31 patents in the ceramic actuator area. His books and publications have been cited more than 21,900 times, averaging about 466 a year.

In 2008, Uchino received his MBA degree from St. Francis University. He has been president/vice president of five companies for 21 years so far, and most recently was the founder, senior vice president and chief technology officer of Micromechatronics Inc., based in State College. He was also the chair of Smart Actuator/Sensor Study Committee sponsored by Japanese Ministry of International Trade and Industry. He was the associate editor of the Journal of Advanced Performance Materials, Journal of Intelligent Materials Systems and Structures and the Japanese Journal of Applied Physics.

Other awards Uchino has received include the IEEE-UFFC Ferroelectrics Recognition Award (2013), Inventor Award from Center for Energy Harvesting Materials and Systems, Virginia Tech (2011), Premier Research Award from The Penn State Engineering Alumni Society (2011)He is a fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers and American Ceramic Society.

The World Academy of Ceramics was founded in 1987. It constitutes a center for the international community directed towards promoting progress in the field of ceramics and fostering a better understanding of the social impact and cultural interactions of ceramics science, technology, history and art. It is a voluntary, non-profit organization of collective and individual supporting members concerned with the welfare of the ceramics sector.


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Rebekka Coakley


Kenji Uchino

Kenji Uchino



The School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science was created in the spring of 2015 to allow greater access to courses offered by both departments for undergraduate and graduate students in exciting collaborative research in fields.

We offer B.S. degrees in electrical engineering, computer science, computer engineering and data science and graduate degrees (master's degrees and Ph.D.'s) in electrical engineering and computer science and engineering. EECS focuses on the convergence of technologies and disciplines to meet today’s industrial demands.

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