John Bean

Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering

E-223 Thorton Hall

I was born in Seattle but quickly moved to Los Altos, California, which I consider my hometown. Then, Los Altos was miles and miles of apricot orchards with a few houses. Now, known as the "Silicon Valley," it is miles and miles of houses and businesses with a few apricot trees. I headed south to Pasadena to get my B.S. at Caltech in 1968. There (in a physics lecture hall) I also met my wife, Kris. We both headed north to Stanford in 1972 where I received my M.S. and Ph.D. in 1974 and 1976. The degrees were all in Applied Physics, but much of the work, including my thesis project, was done in Electrical Engineering Departments. Upon graduating from Stanford in 1976, we felt it was time for us to leave California for a while and I took a position at Bell Labs, Murray Hill, New Jersey. There, in the Solid State Electronics Lab, I developed Silicon Molecular Beam Epitaxy and grew the 1st practical GeSi/Si heterostructures and devices. Outside of work I co-produced two children, Emily and Jeff.

In 1986 I became head of the Materials Science Research Department. For the next five years, the department remained focused on developing and applying new materials. Then, as AT&T faltered, we were redirected to work with its ailing optoelectronics manufacturing unit. In this demanding but stimulating environment, I learned how difficult it could be to transform a research idea into profitable production. This experience fundamentally altered my appreciation of engineering, and I now draw heavily on that experience in the classroom.

The divested AT&T decided to trivest itself and liquidate much of its research equipment in 1996. This made it possible to act on a long time plan to one day return and teach at a university. So, with two full sized moving vans stuffed full of MBE equipment, I joined the University of Virginia’s Department of Electrical Engineering in 1997. As to outside interests, as a teen I got hooked on cross-country and I still run for an hour a day on the mountain trails above my home. On weekends I am generally trying to build something in my basement wood/metal shop. Or, when the weather is nice, I am out "landscaping" my yard (more accurately: shifting quantities of Virginia rock and clay to new locations).


GSVS/ENGR-1559: An Introduction to Sustainable Energy Systems. A class providing early undergraduates with a cross-disciplinary perspective on the complex challenge of not only developing new energy technologies, but of integrating them into viable nation-scale sustainable energy systems.

ENGR-2500: A Hands on Introduction to Nanoscience. A class providing early undergraduates of any major with a broad, lab-based, introduction to the field of nanoscience. The class labs include student use of miniaturized STMs and AFMs, complemented by online virtual reality simulations:

ENGR-162X: Introduction to Engineering, a new curriculum I was asked to develop for the introductory course taken by all freshman in the School of Engineering and Applied Science.

ECE 786: Nanoelectronics, a team taught graduate course in which I covered the topic of molecular electronics

ECE 687: Quantum Mechanics for Engineers, a graduate course co-taught with Lloyd Harriott

ECE 303 and ECE 663: Solid State Devices at both the undergraduate and graduate levels

ENGR-141R: Synthesis and Design. An introductory course for honors students in the E-School’s Rodman Scholar’s Program

Modeling and Sensing the Structure and Composition of GMR Multilayers and Ferroelectric Thin Films
: A DARPA program to harness computer modeling of deposition processes to produce improved production tools
Molecular Level Large Area Printing: A DARPA program in which we developed a contact printing process based on thermal crystallization of indium tin oxide.
Interactive Tools on Microelectronics for Early Science and Engineering Students: An NSF CCLI program under which I explored the use of web-based 3D animations to bring science and technology to younger students and members of the general public. This provided the preliminary material for my UVA Virtual Lab website on which (since January 2005) visitors have now viewed 11,398,717 webpages and iPodcast files.
Nanoscale Morphological Control of Strained Semiconductor Surfaces: An NSF FRG award exploring ways to seed and direct the self-assembly of GeSi nanostructures.
MRSEC Center for Nanoscopic Design: An NSF project exploring a broad range of directed nanoscopic self-assembly techniques and materials.
Merged CMOS/Molecular Integrated Circuit (Mol-MOS) Fabrication, Analysis and Design: An NSF NIRT project aimed at translating early molecular electronic demonstrations into a viable technology.
Hybrid Mole Computer Using Vapor Phase Assembly: A DARPA MOLEapps program targeting the use of molecular electronics in ultrahigh density computational devices.
"We’re Not in Kansas Anymore” – A Hands-on Introduction to the New World of Nanoscience and Technology: An NSF NUE grant to develop a prototype national curriculum on nanoscience for early undergraduates of any major. This led to both my UVA "Hands on Introduction to Nanoscience" class and to the development of lecture note sets, computer animations, lab manuals, and supporting research materials, all posted on the web for use by students and educators anywhere: Energy Class Website
“Surface State Engineering” - Charge Storage and Conduction in Organo-Silicon Heterostructures as a Basis for Nanoscale Devices: An NSF NIRT project aimed at developing molecular / semiconductor hybrid device structures as possible complements or successors to present day MOS technology.
Investigating the use of Simulation and Gaming in Sustainable Energy Education: An NSF RIGEE award aimed a developing an undergraduate energy education curriculum dealing not only with individual energy technologies (now taught in a fragmented fashion across different engineering and science majors), but also with their integration into a viable, sustainable, nation-scale energy system. The central simulation/game is now under final development (and will make its public debut in late 2015 or early 2016). Its supporting curriculum is represented by my new "Introduction to Sustainable Energy Systems" class which again includes comprehensive web-posted lecture note sets and supporting research materials for use by students and educators anywhere: Energy Class Website

Career Bullets:
1985 - Distinguished Member of Technical Staff, Research Division of Bell Telephone Laboratories, Murray Hill NJ
1986 - Head, Materials Science Research Department, Bell Labs
1986 - Elected to the Bohmische Physical Society (honor society of ion beam researchers)
1991 - Elected Fellow, Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE)
1997 - John Marshall Money Chaired Professorship, UVA
2000 - Associate Director, NSF Materials Research Science and Engineering Center (MRSEC)
2003 - Named to lists of most " Highly Cited Authors in Materials Science" and most "Highly Cited Researchers" issued by the Institute of Scientific Information’s Science Citation Index: "250 preeminent individual researchers in each of 21 subject categories who have demonstrated great influence in their field as measured by citations to their work."
2003: The UVA Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering Award for Teaching Innovation
2004: The University of Virginia "All University Teaching Award"
2009: The IEEE Undergraduate Teaching Medal "for providing opportunities to both undergraduate and pre-college students for discovery through both laboratory projects and virtual experiments on the world wide web."
2011: Induction as an inaugural member of UVA’s University Academy of Teaching "in recognition of long-term commitment to - and remarkable skill in - helping others to teach well, and in honor of exemplary expertise"
2015: The UVA Harfield-Jefferson Scholars Foundtion Teaching Prize.