Professor Named Fellow of Society of Fire Protection Engineers

Contact: WPI Media Relations, 508-831-5616

WORCESTER, Mass. -- Robert G. Zalosh of Wellesley, Mass., professor of fire protection engineering at Worcester Polytechnic Institute, has been elected a Fellow of the Society of Fire Protection Engineers.

The honor recognizes Zalosh's achievement in the field of fire protection engineering, a discipline WPI has played a major role in defining and advancing for more than two decades.

Zalosh's research focuses on fire and explosion hazards and protection systems. His expertise has been sought out as part of major investigations of such complex fire and explosion incidents as the Three Mile Island nuclear power plant hydrogen explosion, the TWA Flight 800 explosion and crash and the Malden Mills fire in December 1995.

He has served on a number of distinguished advisory panels, including the National Research Council Committee on Hydrogen Combustion, the U.S. Department of Energy Hydrogen Technical Advisory Panel and the Federal Aviation Administration panel to review aircraft fuel flammability.

"While Bob is a learned scholar at the highest levels of fire protection engineering theory, he is equally proficient in the nuts-and-bolts engineering arena," notes David A. Lucht, director of WPI's Center for Firesafety Studies. "This combined capability in theory and practice sets him apart from many others in the profession. He is the consummate professional-uncompromising in professional ethic and technical work quality-which gains him enormous respect by his peers, colleagues and students alike."

Fellow members of the profession describe Zalosh as generous with his energy and encouragement. Notes David R. Bouchard of Fire Consulting Associates Inc. in Providence, R.I., "Some individuals of his stature can be aloof, but Bob is not. He is always ready to offer a helping hand in the field or clarify an issue at a meeting to make your presentation more understandable."

A member of the SFPE since 1991, Zalosh wrote the explosion protection chapter of the Society of Fire Protection Engineers Handbook, is working on a textbook on industrial fire protection, and has served on the editorial review board of the journal Fire Technology.

In 1979, he helped develop the graduate program in fire protection engineering at WPI, the first of its kind in the United States, and has been closely involved with the program since then. He served as an adjunct professor at WPI while doing fire and explosion research at Factory Mutual Research Corp. in Norwood, Mass., and joined the faculty full time in 1990. Since then, he has conducted research on a variety of explosion hazards, including fuel storage tanks in aircraft and tanker ships and compressed natural gas (CNG) vehicle fuel systems.

With its worldwide reputation, WPI's fire protection engineering program has set the standard for graduate education in the discipline. Students, including distance learners from around the globe, study such topics as industrial fire protection, sprinkler systems, detection and alarm systems, and fire chemistry. Research pursuits cover a wide range, including computer fire modeling, fire performance of structural systems, fire growth and smoke characterization, fire safety design methods and explosion phenomena.

"Through their innovative, interdisciplinary efforts, WPI faculty, students and graduates are making valuable strides in fire protection knowledge and helping to make the world a safer place," Lucht says.

Founded in 1865 and known for its unique, outcomes-oriented approach to education, WPI offers undergraduate and graduate programs in engineering, science, the liberal arts and the management of technology.