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January 15, 2009

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WORCESTER, Mass.– January 14, 2009 -- Diran Apelian, Howmet Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) and founder and director of the university's Metal Processing Institute, has been elected a foreign member of the National Academy of Sciences of the Republic of Armenia. Apelian, who was born in Egypt to Armenian parents and emigrated to the United States at age 15, is an internationally recognized pioneer in metals research and is currently serving as the 52nd president of The Minerals, Metals & Materials Society (TMS).

Established in 1943, the National Academy of Sciences of the Republic of Armenia promotes and carries out fundamental and applied research in several scientific fields and coordinates research carried under way throughout the nation. It is also an official scientific consultant to the highest governing bodies of Armenia.

In recent years, Apelian has received some of the highest honors accorded members of the metals processing community. In 2007 he received the Acta Materialia Inc. J. Herbert Hollomon Award and the Brimacombe Prize from TMS and was one of six Anniversary Laureates at the TMS annual meeting, which marked the society’s 50th anniversary. Apelian, who is one of only 100 living TMS Fellows, received the society’s 2006 Bruce Chalmers Award, presented to an individual who has made outstanding contributions to the science and technology of solidification science.

Apelian joined WPI in 1990 as university provost and returned to teaching and research in materials processing six years later. He was 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 such areas as metal casting, powder metallurgy, and heat treating. With more than 110 corporate partners, it is the largest industry-university consortium in North America.

Prior to coming to 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 500 publications to his credit and 11 books, which he co-edited. He serves on the editorial board of the International Journal of Cast Metals Research, and the Encyclopedia of Materials Science and Engineering. In 2004, he was 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.

In 2006, WPI recognized Apelian with the Board of Trustees' Award for Outstanding Research and Creative Scholarship. He is an honorary member of the French Materials Engineering Society and a Fellow of APMI and ASM, in addition to TMS. He was awarded an honorary doctorate and named honorary professor of Northwestern Polytechnic University in Xian, China, in 1997.

In 2008, Apelian and Svetlana Nikitina, adjunct assistant professor of humanities and arts, developed “Making our World: Sustainable Development for the 21st Century,” one of the Great Problems Seminars offered to first-year students through the university’s innovative first year experience. The seminar explores major challenges facing engineering in the 21st century, including energy, transportation, housing, food distribution, recycling, and health care, using material science and sustainability as a unifying theme.