Hirth received his B. S. and M. S. degrees in Metallurgical Engineering from Ohio State University in 1953. He obtained his Ph. D. from the Carnegie Institute of Technology (now Carnegie Mellon University) in 1958. He was in the U. S. Air Force in 1953-57; a Fulbright Fellow at Bristol University, 1957-58; an Assistant Professor at Carnegie 1958-61; and was at Ohio State University in 1961-1988, being named a Professor in 1964. He was Professor at Washington State University in 1988-98 and is now Professor Emeritus there and at Ohio State University. He has been a consultant at Los Alamos and Livermore National laboratories, 1999-present. He served as Visiting Professor at Stanford in 1968-69 and spent visiting terms at Oslo University, Harvard, Colorado School of Mines, and the University of Mexico.

Research Interests

One research area is the theory of dislocations, that is, atomic scale defects that move and cause deformation of materials. A second is mixed-mode ductile fracture, that is, fracture in which the crack both opens normal to itself and displaces by shear. A third is displacement reactions in which two reactants, e.g. Fe and CuO, react to form two products, e.g., FeO and Cu, that are interwoven and have good toughness and other mechanical properties. A final area is the study of defects at interfaces between two phases: this includes dislocations at interfaces in layered electronic materials and defects that move at interfaces and thereby cause phase transformations.

Membership Type


Election Year


Primary Section

Section 31: Engineering Sciences

Secondary Section

Section 33: Applied Physical Sciences