Professor Fornes accepted a faculty position in the College of Textiles at NC State in early 1970 immediately after completing his PhD, also at NC State, under the direction of Jasper Memory. At that time, Textiles had recently begun a new PhD program in fiber and polymer science and recruited Fornes and another physicist to develop research programs and curricula in polymer physics. His research concentrated in two broad areas—structure/property relationships of anisotropic polymers and on environmental effects of polymer systems. Fornes continued his collaborations with Memory and established a long-term collaboration with a polymer chemist, where the team began a long series of investigations on high performance composite systems. He developed the first x-ray laboratory in the NC State polymer program and equipped the laboratory with both wide and small angle diffractometers.
Fornes was promoted to full professor in 1979. From 1982-87, he served as Associate Dean of the Graduate School (1982-87) at NC State. In 1984, Fornes’ professorial position was moved to the Physics Department, along with his research program. Over his faculty career, Fornes directed or co-directed 24 PhD students and more than 20 MS students. He has been recognized at North Carolina State University as both an outstanding teacher and outstanding researcher. He received the Fiber Society’s Distinguished Achievement in Fiber Science Award. He also was the principal organizer of the NC State Undergraduate Research Symposium, a campus wide event that highlights undergraduate research.
Fornes has taken off-campus assignments at American Enka Research Laboratories (1973), NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratories/California Institute of Technology (1983), and with the Government-University-Industry Research Roundtable (GUIRR) of the National Academy of Sciences/National Academy of Engineering/Institute of Medicine (1997-98), and undertook a special assignment during 2000-2001 with the National Academies in the Policy Division of the National Research Council.
Mismatching Cross Polarization in the Rotating Frame
Shanmin Zhang, E.O. Stejskal, R.E. Fornes and X. Wu.
J. Magnetic Resonance, A104, (1993), p. 177-179
Investigation of the Formation of Physical Damage on Automotive Finishes Due to Acidic Reagent Exposure
D.F. White, R.E. Fornes, R.D. Gilbert and J.A. Speer.
J. Appl. Polym. Sci., 50, (1993), p. 541-549
Effects of Acid Deposition on Paint: A Chamber Study
J.W. Spence, T.J. Lemmons, Y. Hou, R.J. Schadt, R.E. Fornes and R.D. Gilbert.
J. Coatings Technology, 65, 823, (1993), p. 47-55