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When the Volume 10 Organizing Committee first met in 1983 to begin planning a brand-new Metals Handbook on materials characterization, much of the discussion centered on the needs of the intended audience and how to most effectively meet those needs. In a subsequent report sent to Volume 10 authors, committee chairman Dr. Ruth E. Whan summarized the consensus:

“The committee feels strongly that the target audience should be individuals who are involved in materials work and need characterization support, but who are not themselves materials characterization specialists.… In general, these people will not be required to personally carry out the required materials characterization tasks, but they will have to interact with organizations and individuals who specialize in various aspects of materials characterization. The goal of the Handbook, then, will be to facilitate these interactions between materials engineers and characterization specialists, i.e., to help the materials engineer use characterization specialists effectively in the solution of his problems.…

“The Handbook should be assembled … in a way that will enable the materials engineer to make a fairly quick decision about what type of characterization specialist to see, and will also enable him to gain an elementary-level knowledge of how this technique works, how it might provide the information he needs, what types of specimens are needed, etc. The committee feels that if we provide a Handbook that can be easily used by the target audience to help them interact effectively with the appropriate materials specialists, the Handbook will be widely used and we will have performed a worthwhile service.”

The tireless efforts by Dr. Whan and her committee, the authors and reviewers, the ASM Handbook Committee, and the ASM Handbook staff have indeed been worthwhile. This volume is one of the few basic reference sources on the subject of materials characterization; it cuts through the confusing and at times intimidating array of analytical acronyms and jargon. We believe that readers will find the format convenient and easy to use.

Dr. Whan and the Volume 10 section chairmen (listed in the Table of Contents) are to be congratulated for recruiting the top analytical specialists from this country and others to contribute to this Handbook. One of our authors, Jerome Karle of the Naval Research Laboratory, was the co-winner of the 1985 Nobel Prize for Chemistry. Karle and Herbert Hauptman of the Medical Foundation of Buffalo shared the award for their revolutionary development of direct determination methods for the crystal structure of chemicals, drugs, hormones, and antibiotics.

The American Society for Metals is honored by the opportunity to work with individuals of such caliber. We thank all of them for making this Handbook possible.

John W. Pridgeon
Edward L. Langer
Managing Director

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