Robert Cook

Robert Cook

Physics, 2006

Senior materials engineer for Lancer Systems, Allentown, Pa.

I was unsure of what I wanted to do after college, but I came to Lycoming with an interest in astronomy. But after beginning my studies with astronomy, I gained a greater appreciation for physics.

After college, I applied for an internship in Seattle with K2 Sports, where I analyzed the physics behind high-performance ski and snowboard technology. I also worked with professional athletes and Olympians and had the opportunity to build my own snowboard and skis.

After working for K2, I developed an interest in composites and decided to apply for graduate school at the University of Southern Mississippi School of Polymers and High Performance Materials, where I ended up earning a Ph.D. in polymer science and engineering.

At USM I conducted research involving the formulation and processing of advanced low-friction materials for use on the base of high-performance skis and snowboards. While working on this research, I discovered that the materials used to build high-performance skis and snowboards is the same material used to make Lamborghinis and fighter jets, which piqued my interest in aerospace composites.

I now design advanced weapons systems for the U.S. military and allies and I get to travel all over the world helping customers figure out exactly what they need to meet their product goals.

My primary role is research and fabrication of ultra-high temperature composite materials for use in the rocket/missile/fighter-jet applications. I also do a lot of work putting composite materials into small arms systems, with the goal of lightening and strengthening the hand-held weapons that our soldiers carry into the field. It’s a lot of responsibility, but getting to test the products is a blast – literally!