Alan’s career to date has revolved around characterization of materials properties on the nanometer and sub-nanometer length scales. Currently and for the past 16 years, he is the director of the NanoMechanical Technology Laboratory in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at MIT. There, nanoindenters and AFMs are used to measure the mechanical properties of surfaces and very small volumes on the nanometer length scales through mechanical contact. Prior to MIT, Alan was at Brown University where he managed its Electron Microscopy Facility in the School of Engineering for 13 years. He has a B.A. and S.M. in physics respectively from Hampshire College and University of Chicago. His doctoral research at Stanford University in their department of Materials Science and Engineering focussed on phase stability and defect arrangement of compound semiconductor interfaces using high-resolution TEM.