Donald R. Sadoway

Introduction to Solid State Chemistry, MIT

Teaching Philosophy

A world-renowned lecturer and educator, Professor Sadoway has been influencing young minds for over 30 years. His lecture style is unique in that his lessons extend far beyond the science and engineering principles of interest. Real-world examples from industry are often included, but even more exceptional are his efforts to place the science in a cultural context. Literature, music, and popular jargon contemporary to the science are incorporated into his lectures. Professor Sadoway is an adamant believer in the concept of spiral learning and a defender of the notion that links between disciplines — and between people — are what fuel Sciences’ drive forward.

Teaching Awards

Everett Moore Baker Memorial Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching, 2004

The Everett Moore Baker Memorial Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching is presented to faculty members, in recognition of exceptional interest and ability in the instruction of undergraduates. This is the only teaching award in which the nomination and selection of the recipients is done entirely by the students. The award is given in memory of Everett Moore Baker, Dean of Students from 1947-1950.

Bose Award for Teaching, School of Engineering, 1997

The Bose Award for Excellence in Teaching was established in 1989 by the School of Engineering to recognize outstanding contributions to undergraduate education by members of its faculty.  The award stands as a tribute to one of the School’s finest teachers, Dr. Amar Bose, Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science and founder of the Bose Corporation.  This award may be given annually to a faculty member whose teaching contributions over an extended period of time are characterized by dedication, care, creativity, and inspiration to students and colleagues.

MacVicar Faculty Fellow, 1995-2005

Beginning in 1992, members of the faculty who are outstanding teachers have been selected as Margaret MacVicar Faculty Fellows.  Appointment as a MacVicar Faculty Fellow recognizes faculty who have made exemplary and sustained contributions to the teaching, mentoring, and education of undergraduates at MIT.

MIT Graduate Student Council Teaching Award, 1993, 1988, 1987, 1984, 1982

The Graduate Student Council Teaching Awards are given each year to one professor or teaching assistant from each school, for excellence in teaching a graduate level course.

Courses Taught

3.014 – Materials Laboratory

Years Taught: 2012 – present

Experimental exploration of the connections between energetics, bonding and structure of materials, and application of these principles in instruments for materials characterization. Demonstration of the wave-like nature of electrons. Hands-on experience with techniques to quantify energy (DSC), bonding (XPS, AES, FTIR, UV/vis and force spectroscopy), and degree of order (x-ray scattering) in condensed matter. Investigation of structural transitions and structure-property relationships through practical materials examples. Practice in oral and written technical communication. It is strongly recommended that 3.012 and 3.014 be taken simultaneously.

3.53 – Electrochemistry

Years Taught: 1987 – present

Thermodynamic and transport properties of aqueous and nonaqueous electrolytes. The electrode/electrolyte interface. Kinetics of electrode processes. Electrochemical characterization: d.c. techniques (controlled potential, controlled current), a.c. techniques (voltametry and impedance spectroscopy). Applications: electrowinning, electrorefining, electroplating, and electrosynthesis, as well as electrochemical power sources (batteries and fuel cells).

The 2001 version of the course is available on the web through MIT OCW.


3.091 – Introduction to Solid State Chemistry

Years Taught: 1995 – 2010

Basic principles of chemistry and their application to engineering systems. The relationship between electronic structure, chemical bonding, and atomic order. Characterization of atomic arrangements in crystalline and amorphous solids: metals, ceramics, semiconductors, and polymers (including proteins). Topical coverage of organic chemistry, solution chemistry, acid-base equilibria, electrochemistry, biochemistry, chemical kinetics, diffusion, and phase diagrams. Examples from industrial practice (including the environmental impact of chemical processes), from energy generation and storage (e.g. batteries and fuel cells), and from emerging technologies (e.g. photonic and biomedical devices).

The 2010 version of the course is available on the web through MIT OCW.


3.21 – Kinetic Processes in materials

Years Taught: 1980 – 1995

Unified treatment of phenomenological and atomistic kinetic processes in materials. Provides the foundation for the advanced understanding of processing, microstructural evolution, and behavior for a broad spectrum of materials. Emphasis on analysis and development of rigorous comprehension of fundamentals. Topics include: irreversible thermodynamics; diffusion; nucleation; capillarity; grain growth; phase transformations; and morphological instabilities; gas-solid, liquid-solid, and solid-solid reactions.

3.03 – Chemical Metallurgy