Director of WPI's Metal Processing Institute Honored by International Materials Science and Engineering Society

Diran Apelian Receives Two Major Awards and Delivers Address at the 50th Anniversary Conference of the Minerals, Metals and Materials Society
March 06, 2007

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WORCESTER, Mass. – Diran Apelian, Howmet Professor of Mechanical Engineering and director of the Metal Processing Institute at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI), received two of the highest honors awarded in the field of materials science and engineering during the annual conference of the Minerals, Metals and Materials Society (TMS) in Orlando, Fla., on Feb. 27.

Apelian received the 2007 Acta Materialia Inc. J. Herbert Hollomon Award, which recognizes outstanding contributions to interactions between materials science and technology and societal interests, and/or contributions to materials technology that have had a major impact on society. The recipient is selected by an international committee of judges appointed by the board of governors of Acta Materialia Inc., a publisher of international journals in materials science and engineering.

Apelian was also formally presented with the 2006 Brimacombe Prize, which is awarded annually in memory of Keith Brimacombe, who made seminal contributions to the field of process metallurgy. The award recognizes a single or sustained contribution to materials process engineering that is deemed outstanding by the judges.

The meeting marked the 50th anniversary celebration of TMS. As part of the festivities, Apelian was invited to address the annual meeting as one of six Anniversary Laureates, esteemed representatives of their professions who were asked to deliver major addresses that reviewed advancements in materials science over the last 50 years and mused on the future of the field.

In his address, "Looking Beyond the Last 50 Years: The Future of Materials Science and Engineering," Apelian considered the future of materials and suggested that the materials science and engineering community has an opportunity to truly make a difference by addressing the needs of the world of tomorrow—needs in energy, transportation, housing, food, recycling, and health. His address also appears in the February 2006 issue of JOM, the journal of TMS.

This is the second year in a row in which Apelian has received two major honors at the annual TMS conference. Last year the society recognized him as a TMS Fellow, its highest award. There are only 100 living TM Fellows globally. He also received the 2006 Bruce Chalmers Award, which is presented to an individual who has made outstanding contributions to the science and technology of solidification science.

Apelian is widely recognized for his innovative work in metal processing, especially in the field of near net-shape manufacturing. He has been credited with pioneering research in various solidification processes, including molten metal processing and filtration of metals, aluminum foundry engineering, plasma deposition, and spray casting/forming.

He joined WPI in 1990 as university provost. After six years as WPI's chief academic officer, he returned to teaching and research in materials processing. He was also instrumental in establishing the Metals Processing Institute and has served as its director since 1996. The institute is an industry-university alliance dedicated to near net shape manufacturing with centers in metal casting, powder metallurgy, and heat treating.

Prior to joining WPI, Apelian earned an undergraduate degree in metallurgical engineering from Drexel University and an Sc.D. in materials science from MIT. He worked at Bethlehem Steel's Homer Research Laboratories before joining Drexel's faculty in 1976. At Drexel he held various positions, including professor, head of the Department of Materials Engineering, associate dean of the College of Engineering, and vice provost. He has over 400 publications to his credit and has co-edited four books. In 2004, he became the first person from WPI to be named a fellow of APMI International, the professional society for individuals involved in powder metallurgy technology and particulate materials.