Joan B. Berkowitzwas born in Brooklyn, NY on March 13, 1931. She received her B.A. in chemistry from Swarthmore in 1952. She earned her M.S. and Ph.D. (1955) in physical chemistry from the University of Illinois. She did postdoctoral work in polyelectrolytes and ionic solutions at Yale.
Dr. Berkowitz joined Arthur D. Little, Inc. in 1957 and was responsible for basic and applied research programs in high temperature chemistry and environmental science. She worked on the kinetics of oxidation of molybdenum, graphite, and the refractory borides and silicides. She investigated the effect of applied electrochemical potentials on reactions associated with hot corrosion of chromium based alloys. She explored the thermodynamics of vaporization of a number of high temperature materials in both vacuum and reactive atmospheres. She synthesized single crystals of high melting point materials and directed work on the growth of gallium arsenide for solar cell applications.
In the environmental field, Dr. Berkowitz studied the effects of coal cleaning processes on particulate emissions from power plant boilers, and scaling problems associated with limestone injection wet scrubbing. She prepared an inventory of federally owned boilers and assessed the feasibility of their burning solid waste as a supplementary fuel.
For the lunar space program, Dr. Berkowitz designed experiments in metals melting and eutectic solidification in space. She also assessed the possibility for photochemical reactions among the LEM exhaust products. She co-authored a monograph on industrial utilization of NASA developments in electroplating.
Dr. Berkowitz joined the Society in 1961. She became active in affairs of the Electrothermics and Metallurgy Division and served as Member-at-Large, Vice-Chairman, and Chairman (1971-1973). She became a Division Editor of the Journal in 1966. She served on many Society committees: Membership, Nominating, New Technology, and Ways and Means. She organized Society symposia on high temperature oxidation, oceanography, and energy storage. She authored over 35 technical papers and review papers in the fields of high temperature chemistry and oxidation of refractory hard materials and held 2 patents. She received many invitations to speak at domestic and foreign technical meetings.
Dr. Berkowitz was also affiliated with the American Chemical Society, American Physical Society, Sigma Xi, Phi Beta Kappa, and the National Association of Corrosion Engineers. In 1970 she was a member of the National Academy of Science/National Academy of Engineering task group on high temperature oxidation-resistant coatings. She also chaired the chemistry panel for review of NAS/NRC fellowship applications.