Gorilla Glass Inventor Advancing Glass Science at Penn State

January 11, 2022
John Mauro Credit: Penn State. Creative Commons

Dr. John Mauro is more than just an innovator in his field. The associate head for graduate education, materials science and engineering is creating a legacy. He “enabled a generation of inventors for a whole class of materials,” according to one nomination that ultimately earned Mauro the 2021 Penn State Faculty Scholar Medal Award for his advancements in glass science. 

"Penn State has the ideal combination of research and academic excellence in a friendly and supportive environment. I feel truly blessed to be able to work at Penn State among so many of the world’s top researchers and to help educate the next generation of scientists and engineers."

Mauro earned his B.S. in Glass Engineering Science (2001), B.A. in Computer Science (2001), and Ph.D. in Glass Science (2006), all from Alfred University. He joined Corning Inc. in 1999, where he served in various roles, including senior research manager of the Glass Research department. Dr. Mauro is the inventor or co-inventor of several new glass compositions for Corning, including Corning Gorilla® Glass products. In 2017, Dr. Mauro joined Penn State as professor of Materials Science and Engineering.

We sat down with this globally-recognized expert and author of more than 300 peer-reviewed publications to learn more.

HappyValley Industry: How did you get involved in glass science?

Mauro: I fell in love with glass when I was 6 years old and my parents took me to visit the Corning Museum of Glass. I loved everything about glass and the seemingly endless combinations of colors and forms that it could take on.

HappyValley Industry: Coming from Corning to Penn State, what was the transition like? 

Mauro: The wonderful staff at Penn State made the transition from industry to academia as smooth as possible. The faculty, staff and students made me feel so welcome here. Even after a few months at Penn State, I felt like a full member of this wonderful Penn State family.

"Our goal is to translate advances in basic science toward practical applications that will make a positive difference in society."

Penn State has the ideal combination of research and academic excellence in a friendly and supportive environment. I feel truly blessed to be able to work at Penn State among so many of the world’s top researchers and to help educate the next generation of scientists and engineers.

HappyValley Industry: You and your team are making incredible strides. Would you share the potential impact your work and your inventions may have?

"I am very excited about some of my newly patented bioactive glasses that may help regenerate volumetric muscle loss resulting from skeletal muscle injuries."

Mauro: Our latest glass inventions could help significantly reduce the carbon footprint of glass manufacturing by lowering melting temperatures and eliminating the use of carbonate batch materials. We have also invented new materials and processes to enable the next generation of optical fiber. Our goal is to translate advances in basic science toward practical applications that will make a positive difference in society.

HappyValley Industry: You've filed several patent applications. What are a few of the inventions you're most excited about? Why?

Mauro: My Gorilla Glass patents are probably the most exciting, since Gorilla Glass has become so ubiquitous in smartphones and tablets. It’s really amazing to look around and realize that hundreds of millions of people are using a product that I helped create. More recently, I am very excited about some of my newly patented bioactive glasses that may help regenerate volumetric muscle loss resulting from skeletal muscle injuries.

HappyValley Industry: What are your goals for the future of this work?

"Penn State is an ideal home for realizing your research dreams."

Mauro: We are always striving to invent new glass compositions that can improve the performance of these materials to address critical global needs in energy, the environment, health care and information technology. We are also conducting many studies to understand the fundamental science governing glass properties and performance.

HappyValley Industry: Penn State is such an important hub of innovation and education in Happy Valley. Can you tell me how working with Penn State has supported your goals and your work?

"It’s also a highly professional environment with some of the best facilities and equipment of any university I’ve seen around the globe."

Mauro: Penn State is an ideal home for realizing your research dreams. Everyone is so supportive of research and personally committed to ensuring the success of every student and every faculty member at Penn State. It’s also a highly professional environment with some of the best facilities and equipment of any university I’ve seen around the globe.

HappyValley Industry: Would you recommend Happy Valley as a home? 

Mauro: Absolutely! Happy Valley lives up to its name. There is such a wonderful sense of community here, which truly embodies the WE ARE spirit.

 

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Happy Valley Industry is the voice for innovation, research and industry in the Happy Valley region of Central Pennsylvania.

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