Xianming (David) Bai, assistant professor of materials science and engineering in the College of Engineering at Virginia Tech, has been named the Thomas G. Digges and Thomas G. Digges Jr. Faculty Fellow by the Virginia Tech Board of Visitors. 

The Thomas G. Digges and Thomas G. Digges Jr. Faculty Fellowship in Materials Science and Engineering was established through a gift from the estate of alumnus Robert H. Digges '59. Robert Digges created this fellowship to honor his father Thomas G. Digges '20 and his brother Thomas G. Digges Jr. '60 and to recognize teaching and research excellence in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering. Recipients hold the fellowship for two years.

A member of the Virginia Tech community since 2016, Bai’s scholarship involves computational materials science with a focus on the behavior of materials under radiation. His modeling research is clarifying fundamental processes that affect the properties and applications of materials. 

In his first four years at Virginia Tech, he attracted more than $1.8 million in external funding from several divisions of the Department of Energy, the Jeffress Trust Awards Program, and the NSF CAREER Award program. During his career, he has authored or co-authored more than 50 papers in high-visibility and influential journals. He is the recipient of several professional awards, including the 2015 TMS Young Leader Professional Development Award and the 2018 Oak Ridge Associated Universities Ralph E. Powe Junior Faculty Enhancement Award.

Bai has taught two graduate courses, Advanced Thermodynamics and Introduction to Molecular Dynamics Simulation, and a core undergraduate course, Physical Metallurgy. In addition, he has supervised five undergraduate research projects and two teams of seniors in the department’s capstone design course. He has been on the advisory committees of graduate students from five different departments, advises a student professional society, and has been successful recruiting diverse students into the department’s graduate program. 

A member of the Materials Research Society, the Minerals, Metals and Materials Society, and the American Nuclear Society, Bai has organized eight national symposia and workshops and has served as guest editor for three special publications over the past seven years. He is an executive committee member of the American Nuclear Society – Virginia Section.

Bai received his bachelor’s degree and master’s degree from Fudan University in China, a master’s degree from Johns Hopkins University, and a Ph.D. from the Georgia Institute of Technology.