November 19, 2015
A Physical and Life Science Directorate scientist whose ties as a student, researcher and alumnus with Stanford University span six decades has been honored by the Bay Area university.
LLNL materials scientist Troy Barbee Jr. was one of four Stanford graduates inducted into the university's Multicultural Alumni Hall of Fame (MAHF) recently during a ceremony at the Tresidder Memorial Union.
Barbee was inducted into the school's MAHF for his work with Stanford students through the years and for his career achievements.
When the 18-year-old Barbee walked onto Stanford's Palo Alto campus in 1955 on a football scholarship after graduating from Hoover High School in San Diego, he believes he was the only Native American there for his first year.
He arrived 15 years before the university started its Native American Cultural Center in 1970. Today, there are about 400 Native American students in Stanford's undergraduate and graduate programs.
"I feel honored to be selected for the MAHF and I'm in some good company," Barbee said. "The Native American presence at Stanford in 1955 was very minimal. I think there might have been one other Native American, but he probably came in 1956."
During his decade as a student at Stanford, Barbee earned three degrees – a bachelor's of science in physical metallurgy in 1960, and master's of science and doctorate degrees in materials science and engineering in 1962 and 1965, respectively.
After earning his Ph.D. in 1965, Barbee worked for six years as a materials scientist at the Stanford Research Institute before becoming the associate director of the National Science Foundation-sponsored Center for Materials Research, also at Stanford, where he worked for six years. He also later worked for another 13 years as a materials researcher at Stanford.
Along the way, between 1971 and 1986, he served as a freshman academic adviser for Stanford students, providing advice and recommendations for about 12 students each year.
"It was great fun," Barbee recalls. "I thought it was wonderful. The students were all bright, able and enthusiastic. They were interested in all kinds of topics. They found out I'd been a football player and that immediately gave me an in with them."
During his stint as the associate director of the Center for Materials Research, Barbee built a capability to produce thin films – or multi-layer materials – comprised of extremely thin layers a few atoms thick using the newly developed magnetron sputtering technology.