to a lifelong interest in glass-metal seals. In 1948 he accepted an appointment as associate professor of ceramic engineering at the University of California at Berkeley, with the daunting assignment of initiating a graduate program in the field of ceramic engineering, a task he carried out with distinction.
By 1954, Pask had developed an impressive teaching and research program and had been promoted to professor. He was then authorized to recruit two junior faculty members. Within a few years the program, under his leadership, had grown to have an enrollment of more than 20 graduate students and postdoctoral researchers, and an upper-division major in ceramic engineering was instituted. The ceramics programs, which continued under Pask’s benevolent and effective leadership until the time of his retirement in 1980, were remarkably successful. More than 40 graduate students and postgraduate researchers from the program rose to tenured positions at major universities throughout the world. Pask directed the research of 39 master’s and 31 Ph.D. students. With only 3 faculty members, ceramic science and engineering at Berkeley attained a level of professional regard comparable to that of elite graduate programs that were staffed by more than 20 faculty.
During his years at Berkeley, Joe Pask was considered one of the leading professionals in the United States, and worldwide, in ceramic science and engineering, with a definite orientation toward ceramic processing. Over the years he was a strong proponent of the need for ceramic processing research in order to produce more reliable ceramic products. He helped organize and served on numerous National Research Council committees and panels on ceramic processing, particularly emphasizing the need for research directed at producing more reliable ceramic bodies. Early on, with several of his graduate students, he made significant contributions to clay mineralogy and the behavior of clay suspensions with regard to ceramics. He had a long-term interest in phenomena involved in producing glass-metal bonds, which started from his years in research at Westinghouse. He is well known for his many studies on mullite ceramics (a dense alumina-silica compound