James Bruce Wagner, Jr.was born in Hampton, Virginia on July 28, 1927. He earned his B.S. in chemistry in 1950 and his Ph.D. in physical chemistry in 1955 from the University of Virginia. After completing his graduate studies, he accepted a Research Associate appointment to work on the thermodynamics of compound semiconductors with Professor Carl Wagner in the Department of Metallurgy at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
In 1956, Dr. Wagner became an Assistant Professor of Metallurgy at Pennsylvania State University. In the summer of 1957, he worked with J. V. Cathcart on the oxidation of metals at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. A year later he joined the faculty of Yale University as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Metallurgy. In 1962, he accepted a position as Associate Professor in the Department of Materials Science at Northwestern University and was promoted to full professor three years later.
During his 15-year tenure at Northwestern , Dr. Wagner spent a year as a Ford Foundation Resident in Engineering practice at the Semiconductor Products Division of Motorola, Inc., Phoenix, Arizona. He worked on the effect of oxygen and carbon in silicon with H. Klink and T. Benedict. From 1972 to 1976, he was Director of the Materials Research Center at Northwestern. In the summer of 1977, Dr. Wagner participated in the Laboratory Research Cooperative Program at Ft. Monmouth, NJ with R. J. Zeto on the thermal oxidation of silicon to silica.
Dr. Wagner published more than 100 technical papers. He also participated in 12 Gordon Research Conferences. He was chairman and U.S. organizer for the Defects and Diffusion in Solids Meeting in Tokyo (1976) sponsored by the Japanese Society for the Promotion of Science and the U.S. National Science Foundation and acted in the same capacity for the follow-up meeting in Honolulu (1979).
Dr. Wagner became a member of The Electrochemical Society in 1965. He served the Society in many capacities: Corrosion Division Editor, Vice-Chairman of Electrothermics and Metallurgy Division, Nominating Committee, Honors and Awards Committee which included Chairman of subcommittees: Becket Award, Solid State Science and Technology Award, and ad hoc committee for the Carl Wagner Memorial Award. He co-chaired many ECS symposia.
Dr. Wagner was elected Vice-President of the Society in 1980 and served as President for the term 1983-1984. He received the Outstanding Achievement Award of the High Temperature Materials Division in 1986. He was elected Fellow of The Electrochemical Society in 1990, an Honorary Member in 1991, and he received the Edward Goodrich Acheson Award in 1994.