A senior scientist and principle investigator in the Electron Microscopy Center at Argonne National Laboratory as well as a Fellow of both Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and the Computational Institute of the University of Chicago, Nestor’s research includes the development of state-of-the-art instrumentation, software and techniques for x-ray and electron spectroscopy, analytical, and scanning confocal electron microscopy.
In addition to creating tools for science, he also uses these leading-edge technologies to study issues in technologically important materials. His work over the last 30 years has included studies in the areas of structural phase transformation in metals, radiation damage in alloys, ceramic oxides for geologic immobilization of nuclear waste materials, elemental segregation in a wide range of materials ranging from metals and catalytst to semiconductors and superconductors, magnetic dichroism, genetically engineered bio-materials and most recently studies of optical photovoltaics and plasmonics in coupled and hybrid nanostructures. He currently is investigating how aberration corrected instruments can be reengineered to improve the sensitivity of spectroscopy in analytical modes. He was one of the earliest to realize the potential impact of the Internet on science and established the first TelePresence Microscopy Collaboratory, which has served as a model for outreach to both the scientific and education communities, providing unencumbered access to scientific resources.
Nestor has received numerous awards for his research and educational outreach. They include: Fellow of the Microscopy Society of America, Distinguished Alumni Award from the College of Engineering at the University of Illinois, the August Kohler Award from the State Microscopical Society of Illinois, Distinguished Service Award Australian Microscopy and Microanalysis Society, the Maser Distinguished Service Award from MSA, the AMMS Presidential International Collaboration Award, Honorary Lifetime Member of the Illinois Junior Academy of Science, Science Digest 100 Brightest Scientists Award, and the E.F. Burton Award for Contributions to Microscopy by a Young Scientist. Nestor also founded and was the first Director of the Electron Microscopy Center at Argonne National Laboratory, where he developed the first parallel EELS system to employ CCD array detectors, plasma cleaning technology for EM, and has received two R&D 100 Awards one for the invention of the Scanning Confocal Electron Microscope and the second for the π sR X-ray Detector. He has and continues to hold numerous positions on local, national and international committees and engages the next generation of scientists through his adjunct work over the years with local universities (NIU , UofC, UIUC, UIC, IIT) as well as with middle and high school students through the Illinois Junior Academy of Science.
Nestor received his B.S. degree in Physics at Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago, and his PhD in 1978 from the Department of Metallurgy at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.