Entry Date:
January 21, 2003

W. David Kingery Ceramics and Glass Laboratory (formerly MIT Glass Lab)

Principal Investigator Michael Cima

Co-investigators Christopher B Moore , Brendon Edwards , Peter Houk , Martin Demaine , Christopher R Laughman , Whitney Cornforth , Sandra Martin

The MIT Glass Lab is a place where any member of the MIT community can learn to blow glass. The lab is connected with the Ceramics Processing and Research Lab, and is overseen by Professor Michael Cima. The CPRL is part of the Department of Material Sciences and Engineering, a department in the School of Engineering.

The origin of the Glass Lab was over thirty years ago with ceramics and glass processing research in MIT's Materials Science Department. It grew out of the research effort of Prof. David Kingery and Pam Vandiver. They studied glass batch chemistry and processing and it was natural to include blowing as a great experience for the students. Their departure from MIT meant quite a few years when the Glass Lab was not operational.

In April 2015, the Department of Materials Science and Engineering (DMSE) celebrated the reopening of the W. David Kingery Ceramics and Glass Laboratory -- formerly known as the MIT Glass Lab -- and the Merton C. Flemings Materials Processing Laboratory, home to MIT’s forge and foundry.

Forge, foundry, and glassblowing activities were part of the department's Course 3 curriculum at MIT’s founding. For decades, MIT students have been given the opportunity to explore, understand, create, and learn while working with glass and metal. Until the renovation, however, the glassblowing and forge activities shared one room; the foundry was down the hall, in a cramped and dark space. Students now have more space for these activities, and new equipment has been added to allow more participation in classes at all levels. Improved safety and ventilation systems have also been added.

The renovation was made possible by a fundraising campaign that has raised nearly $3 million to date. A coalition of alumni and friends made gifts to name the Merton C. Flemings Materials Processing Laboratory, now home to the forge and foundry. Flemings, the Toyota Professor Emeritus of Materials Science and Engineering, established the foundation of modern solidification science and engineering, and made major contributions to industrial developments in metal casting. He mentored generations of students in foundry science, and was the founding director of MIT's Materials Processing Center. He also led DMSE during the evolution of its focus from metallurgy to much broader classes of materials.