John Ballato of Clemson University was elected Fellow of the American Physical Society, a prestigious recognition by his peers for his outstanding contribution to physics.

Ballato holds the J. E. Sirrine Endowed Chair in Optical Fiber in Clemson’s Department of Materials Science and Engineering. The society is recognizing him “for pioneering contributions to optical fibers, most notably to novel fiber optic materials and their fabrication.”

John Ballato was recognized “for pioneering contributions to optical fibers, most notably to novel fiber optic materials and their fabrication.”

John Ballato was recognized “for pioneering contributions to optical fibers, most notably to novel fiber optic materials and their fabrication.”

Ballato’s peers credit him with creating new materials that can then be made into high-performing optical fibers. Among his achievements is co-inventing the “molten-core process” for making optical fibers, a process now used around the world for making semiconductor core optical fibers, solar cell fabrics, and advanced lasers.

Ballato holds 34 patents and has received more than $60 million in extramural research support over his 25-year career. He has authored more than 450 technical papers that have been cited over 10,000 times. Ballato has mentored 80 undergraduate students and served as advisor to nearly 30 graduate students past and present.                                        

Kyle Brinkman, chair of the Department of Materials Science and Engineering, congratulated Ballato on his Fellowship.

“Election as Fellow is a highly prestigious honor that serves as a testament to the pioneering and impactful work that Dr. Ballato has done to advance optical fibers,” Brinkman said. “This is well deserved recognition for him and having him here continues to enhance the reputation of the department, Clemson and South Carolina.”

Ballato was nominated by the Forum on Industrial and Applied Physics. Only seven new Fellows were allowed from that category in this year’s election. Each year the society elects no more than one half of 1% of its membership to Fellow.

It’s the latest in a string of honors for Ballato, who has also been named Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), the Optical Society (OSA), the International Society for Optical Engineering (SPIE), the American Ceramic Society (ACerS), the World Academy of Ceramics, and the National Academy of Inventors.

The American Physical Society, a nonprofit membership organization, works to advance and diffuse the knowledge of physics through research journals, scientific meetings, and education, outreach, advocacy, and international activities. It has more than 55,000 members globally.