ICDD Awards - Distinguished Fellowship Award 1982

William L. Fink (1896-1992)

William L. Fink attended the University of Michigan where he received his BS in Engineering (1921), Masters of Engineering (1923), and finally his PhD in Chemistry (1926). His thesis work at Michigan utilized X-ray diffraction and showed that the strengthening phase in steels and martensite was a solid solution of carbon in iron. Dr. Fink began working at the Aluminum Company of America (Alcoa) in 1925, and became Chief of the Physical Metallurgy Division in 1943.

Dr. Fink is one of the founders of the Joint Committee on Powder Diffraction Standards (JCPDS), now the International Centre for Diffraction Data. He also served as chairman of the JCPDS in the 1960s.
Dr. Fink served on various committees and subcommittees organized by the American Society for Testing and Material (ASTM). Most notably, Fink led Subcommittee 6 on Metallography in 1925. Using the method established by J.D. Hanawalt in the historical paper, “Chemical Anaylsis by X-ray Diffraction,” Fink issued ASTM E 43-42T, Recommended Practice for Identification of Crystalline Materials by the Hanawalt X-ray Diffraction Method. He also chaired Subcommittee VI on X-ray Methods from 1938 – 1960, and Subcommittee III on Nomenclature from 1960 – 1978.

Fink is best remembered for the “Fink Method,” which he developed in the mid-1960s with W.C. Bigelow and J.V. Smith. The Fink Method, which was used for identifying unknowns using the JCPDS Fink Search Manual, lists diffraction patterns in order of decreasing “d” spacing but using eight spacings for each pattern and leaving out intensity values.

Dr. Fink received various awards, such as the ASTM Award of Merit in 1956; the CH Mathewson Award of the American Institute of Mining, Metallurgical, and Petroleum Engineers; the fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science; and the ICDD Distinguished Fellow. He also published over 40 papers, and held twelve patents.

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