Kenneth F. Kelton

Kenneth F. Kelton

Professor of Physics
Arthur Holly Compton Professor of Physics in Arts and Sciences
PhD, Harvard University
research interests:
  • Silicate Glasses
  • Amorphous Materials
  • Metallic Liquids

contact info:

mailing address:

  • Washington University
    MSC 1105-109-03
    One Brookings Drive
    St. Louis, MO 63130-4899

Professor Kelton's Laboratory for Materials Physics Research studies the formation, structures, and physical properties of many materials, particularly novel non-crystalline phases of metals, such as quasicrystals, metallic and silicate glasses, and liquids.​

Kelton's research interests include the study and production of titanium/zirconium-based quasicrystals and related phases; the fundamental investigations of time-dependent nucleation processes; modeling of crystallization in silicate glasses; the structure of amorphous materials; the relation between structure and nucleation barrier; and structure and dynamics of metallic liquids.

From 1983 to the present, Kelton has served as a Post Doctoral Fellow in the Division of Applied Sciences at Harvard University, Assistant Professor of Physics at Washington University, Associate Professor of Metallurgy and Materials Science at Washington University, Associate Professor of Physics at Washington University, Adjunct Senior Investigator, Graduate Center for Materials Research at the University of Missouri at Rolla, Professor of Metallurgy and Materials Science at Washington University, Consultant MEMC Corporation and ABB/Alstom, Inc. and Professor of Physics at Washington University. He was installed as the Arthur Holly Compton Professor in Arts & Sciences in October 2006. He served as the Chair of the Physics Department from July 2007 through June 2012. In July 2013, he became the inaugural director of the Institute of Materials Science and Engineering, a PhD granting institute that sits in both the School of Arts & Sciences and the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences.

Honors and Awards

2010 ISMANAM (International Symposium on Amorphous, Nanocrystalline and Metastable Materials) Senior Scientist Award
2008 Hall of Distinction, Arkansas Tech University
2006- Advisory Board, Journal of Non-Crystalline Solids
2005 Elected Fellow of the American Physical Society
2003 Invited Visiting Professor Université de Cergy-Pointoise, France
1998-2006 U.S. Regional Editor, Journal of Non-Crystalline Solids
1993 SERC Visiting Fellow, Cambridge University, Cambridge UK
1993 Fellow Commoner, Churchill College, Cambridge University, Cambridge UK

recent courses

Kinetics of Materials (Physics 537)

A general discussion of phase formation and phase transformation in solids and liquids. Topics include equilibrium and nonequilibrium thermodynamics, equilibrium and metastable phase diagrams, nucleation and growth, spinodal transformations, diffusion and interface limited processes, shear type transformations and order/disorder transformations.

    Statistical Mechanics and Thermodynamics (Physics 463)

    The thermodynamics of open and closed systems, kinetics and transport theory, and classical and quantum statistical mechanics.

      From our podcast:

      Hold That Thought Podcast

      Materials through the ages

      Over thousands of years, humankind has learned how to produce superior materials for different types of processing. Physicist Ken Kelton talks about materials through the ages.