Al Lieberman: Father of the particle counter
Editor`s note: This is the seventh in a series of articles celebrating the accomplishments of the distinguished members of the CleanRooms Hall of Fame.
Widely recognized as the “father of the particle counter,” Alvin Lieberman`s contribution to the cleanroom industry extends far beyond his technical expertise and his extensive research.
“Al is approachable, extremely knowledgeable, and any time in the last 19 years that I can think of, he has always had time to give me an answer whenever I had a question,” says Bob Spector, technical vice president of contamination control for the Institute of Environmental Sciences and Technology (IEST). “Sometimes people who are as much of an expert as he is are above just talking to people. But he`s willing to share information.”
Lieberman says that those in the cleanroom industry need to share their data and expertise with each other, as well. He calls for pharmaceutical companies to learn from semiconductor cleanroom designers and vice versa.
He received a master of science degree in chemical engineering from Illinois Institute of Technology (ITT) in 1949. He is an engineering consultant for Particle Measuring Systems Inc., of Boulder, CO, where he had been a technical specialist from 1983 to 1985 and from 1987 to 1992. He was chief scientist at Hiac/Royco Instruments from 1968 to 1983 and from 1985 to 1987, formerly of Menlo Park, CA, now of Silver Spring, MD.
From 1951 to 1968, he was with the ITT Research Institute doing research and development on particle physics and powder mechanics. From 1949 to 1951, he was research associate at Alfred University, New York, working on cement development for high temperature turbine blade use. This research, which involved the mixing of powdered metals and ceramic glazes, led him to later work in the particle-measuring field.
Lieberman had been involved in the development of many standards for particle measurement instruments and cleanrooms, including Federal Standard 209. He is a US delegate to the Airborne Particulate Cleanliness working group and to the Measurements and Metrology working group of the ISO TC/209 Cleanroom Standards committee. He is the convenor of the working group on Single Particle Light Interaction methodology of the ISO TC/24/SC4 Particle Characterization Committee. In addition to being inducted into CleanRooms` Hall of Fame, he has received the Whitfield and Seligman awards from IEST, and the Hananer Award from the Fine Particle Society.
Lieberman is active in several technical societies concerning particle technology and contamination control. He has written more than 100 technical publications about particulate systems and con tamination measurement and control, has co-edited a book on liquid-borne particle measurement, and is author of a book on cleanrooms and contamination control.
Judy Keller is a freelance writer in Milford, NH.