Diran Apelian, Alcoa-Howmet Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) and director of WPI's Metal Processing Institute (MPI), received the 2015 John Campbell Medal from the Institute of Cast Metals Engineers in the United Kingdom. The award was presented in October during the institute's national awards ceremony at the Birmingham (England) Botanical Gardens.
Apelian is widely known for his leadership as a researcher and an educator. An internationally recognized pioneer in metals research, his work in molten metal processing, new aluminum alloys, and innovative casting techniques has resulted in more than 600 publications and 11 books, which he co-edited, and helped lay the foundations for significant industrial developments. He is a member of the National Academy of Engineering.
The award is named in honor of John Campbell, who presented the medal to Apelian. A British engineer, Campbell is one of the world’s leading experts on the casting industry, with approximately 150 papers and 20 patents. He is a fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering and the chair of casting technology at the University of Birmingham.
In addition to the Campbell Award, Apelian has received numerous honors for his contributions to research and education in materials science and engineering. In April, he received the Audubon Society's Joan Hodges Queneau Palladium Medal, an award administered by the American Association of Engineering Societies, "for articulating an inspiring vision of sustainable stewardship of our earth's resources and then rallying varied disciplines and constituencies within the science and engineering community to collaborate meaningfully toward outcomes that satisfy the interests of industries and conservationists alike."
His previous honors include the 2010 Robert Earll McConnell Award from the American Institute of Mining, Metallurgical, and Petroleum Engineers (AIME), and the Acta Materialia Inc. J. Herbert Hollomon Award, the Brimacombe Prize, and the Bruce Chalmers Award from The Minerals, Metals & Materials Society (TMS), one of the four AIME member societies.
Apelian is founding director of the Center for Resource Recovery and Recycling (CR3), a member-driven collaborative led by researchers at WPI, the Colorado School of Mines, and KU Leuven in Belgium that advances technologies for recovering, recycling, and reusing materials throughout the manufacturing process.
CR3 is one of three research centers that fall under the umbrella of the Metal Processing Institute, which Apelian founded in 1996. The largest industry-university alliance in North America, MPI is dedicated to advancing the field of materials processing through research in the areas of metal casting (in the Advanced Casting Research Center, or ACRC), heat treating (in the Center for Heat Treating Excellence, or CHTE), and resource recovery and recycling (in CR3).
Apelian served as the 52nd president of TMS and was one of six Anniversary Laureates at the TMS annual meeting in 2007, the society's 50th anniversary year. He is one of only 100 living TMS Fellows and 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. He is also an honorary member of the French Materials Engineering Society, a fellow of ASM International, and a foreign member of the National Academy of Sciences of the Republic of Armenia. He received an honorary doctorate from Northwestern Polytechnic University in Xian, China, in 1997.
After earning an undergraduate degree in metallurgical engineering at Drexel University and an Sc.D. in materials science at MIT, Apelian worked at Bethlehem Steel's Homer Research Laboratories and then joined Drexel, where he ultimately was named vice provost. At WPI, he served as university provost from 1990 to 1996. Since then, he has focused on teaching and research in materials processing. WPI has twice honored him: in 2006 with its Board of Trustees' Award for Outstanding Research and Creative Scholarship, and in 2009 with its Chairman's Exemplary Faculty Prize.