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James R. Tucker

Director, Materials Research

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James R. Tucker currently serves in the Engineering division as the director of materials research. He leads a team of engineers and experimentalist technicians who specialize in materials characterization and precision testing of materials and structures for industrial, aerospace, and military applications. Tucker is a physicist with more than 30 years of experience in the development, characterization, and data analysis of advanced composite materials and structures, with specific expertise in non-destructive testing and metrology.

Tucker was formerly at Southern Research in the Nondestructive Characterization Group until 2004, when he went to San Diego to work with Orbital ATK. At Orbital ATK, Tucker worked in its space systems group as senior metrology and testing engineer where he founded and directed the ATK Verification Science Lab (VSL). The VSL developed technology including construction of the ATK Interferometric Metrology Facility, a world leader in thermal expansion capability used to test materials for the James Webb Space Telescope.

Tucker received a bachelor’s degree in physics from Birmingham-Southern College, and he completed course work for a Master of Science in Metallurgical Engineering at the University of Alabama in Birmingham.