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Karl A. Gschneidner papers

Identifier: RS 11/12/52

  • Staff Only

Scope and Content

The collection (1946-2011, undated) consists of biographical information, publications, correspondence. The biographical information includes copies of Gschneidner’s curriculum vitas and documents regarding awards and honors he has received. His research publications focus on the physical metallurgy of rare-earth metals, alloy theory, phase formation studies, thermal and electrical behavior of rare-earth materials, and magnetic refrigeration. Correspondence includes writings to fellow researchers and scientists.

The collection also includes information on the Industrial Applications of Rare Earth Elements Symposium sponsored by the Division of Industrial and Engineering Chemistry of the American Chemical Society. The symposium was held in San Francisco, California.

Gschneidner’s long affiliation with Ames Laboratory is documented in Series 5, Ames Laboratory materials. These files contain reports, work authorization forms, publications, correspondence, proposals, and information about research projects conducted at the lab. Research highlighted includes work with magnetic refrigeration cooling systems and the magnetocaloric effect in rare earth metals.


  • 1946-2011, undated

Language of Materials


Access Restrictions

Open for research.

Use/Re-use Restrictions

Consult Special Collections and University Archives


Karl A. Gschneidner, Jr., was born on November 16, 1930 in Detroit, Michigan. He received a B.S. (1952) in chemistry with minors in physics and mathematics from the University of Detroit. He earned a Ph.D. (1957) in physical chemistry with minors in physics and metallurgy from Iowa State University. Gschneidner focused his dissertation on rare earth-carbon systems.

Gschneidner worked as an undergraduate teaching assistant (1952) in chemistry at the University of Detroit. While at Iowa State University, he accepted a position as a graduate research assistant (1952-1956) in physical chemistry (metallurgy) at the Ames Laboratory. He became a graduate teaching assistant (1956-1957) in physical metallurgy with the Engineering Department, where he spent a quarter of his time teaching and another quarter researching for the Ames Laboratory. Gschneidner accepted a position as a staff member (1957-1961) with the Chemistry and Metallurgy Division, Los Alamos National Laboratory in Los Alamos, New Mexico, and was promoted to section leader (1961-1963). For a short period of time, he was an Assistant Professor (1962-1963) at the University of Illinois, Urbana, Illinois, in the Department of Physics.

Gschneidner returned to Iowa State University as an Associate Professor of Metallurgy (1963-1967) and Group Leader at the Ames Laboratory, and was promoted to Professor (1967-2016). Gschneidner was named a Distinguished Professor of Sciences and Humanities (1979). He then served as a Visiting Professor (1979-1980) at the Institute for Pure and Applied Physical Science at the University of California-San Diego in LaJolla, California. At his retirement in January 2016, Gschneidner held the titles of Distinguished Professor of Materials Science and Engineering at Iowa State University, Senior Metallurgist at the Ames Laboratory, and Chief Scientist of the Critical Materials Institute.

Gschneidner belonged to numerous professional societies, including the American Chemical Society; American Society for Materials International (Fellow); American Crystallographic Association; and Minerals, Metals, and Materials Society (Fellow). He received numerous awards for his research, including the William Hume-Rothery Award (1978) from the Metallurgical Society of AIME (American Institute of Mining, Metallurgy, and Petroleum Engineers) in recognition of outstanding scholarly contributions to the science of alloys. Gschneidner received the Frank H. Spedding Award (1991) for distinguished contributions in the field of rare earth science by the Rare Earth Research Conference, Inc. He was further honored by the International Conference on Rare Earths when the conference held the “Karl A. Gschneidner, Jr. Symposium” (1992), a special symposium dedicated to him in recognition for his “meritorious service to rare earth science and industry.” He was also a member of the prestigious National Academy of Engineering.

Gschneidner’s research interests included alloy theory of metallic systems and the physical metallurgy of the rare-earth elements. He wrote or co-wrote over 500 journal articles, 7 books, and 170 book chapters and conference proceedings. in books and has given over 230 invited talks, seminars and papers. He has at least 15 patents to his name.

Gschneidner passed away on April 27, 2016.


7.98 Linear Feet (19 document boxes)


This collection is arranged into three series:

Series 1: Biographical information, 1969-2011, undated (alphabetical)

Series 2: Symposia, 1980 (alphabetical)

Series 3: Publications, 1946-2015, undated (chronological)

Series 4: Correspondence, 1998-2009 (alphabetical)

Series 5: Ames Laboratory materials, 1980-2010, undated (chronological)

RS 11/12/52. Karl A. Gschneidner papers, 1946-2011, undated
February 27, 2019
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
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Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections and University Archives Repository

403 Parks Library
701 Morrill Road
Iowa State University
Ames Iowa 50011-2102 United States
(515) 294-6672