It is with great sadness that we pass on the news that Didier de Fontaine, a pioneer in the field of first principles Materials Science and Emeritus Professor of Materials Science and Engineering, passed away on November 20, 2021.
Professor de Fontaine received his PhD from Northwestern in 1967 and joined the University of California in 1969, initially as a Professor of Materials Science at UCLA. He moved to UC Berkeley and joined what is now the Department of Materials Science and Engineering in 1979 and stayed through until he retired in 1994. In his five decades in academia, Professor de Fontaine made seminal contributions to the fields of phase transformations, materials thermodynamics, and the ab-initio computation of phase diagrams. His work led to over 220 publications, including several authoritative review articles. Professor de Fontaine was a pioneer in the field of ab-initio alloy theory, where he paved the way for the modern discipline of computational materials science. His work has been recognized by numerous awards and professional distinctions including Fellowship in the APS, TMS, and the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science, the Turnbull Award from the MRS, and the Hume Rothery Award from TMS.
Professor de Fontaine was a highly respected educator and mentor. He delivered courses on thermodynamics and phase transformations for over three decades. His comprehensive course notes on thermodynamics formed the basis for a recent textbook on the subject, published in 2019. His legacy includes his own work and those of his students and postdocs that have been influential in forming the modern field of Computational Materials Science. He will be greatly missed. He is survived by his three sons, and their families.