Elected in 1997
“For contributions to the understanding of diffusional phase transformation in commercial steels.”
BY JOHN P. HIRTH
HUBERT I. AARONSON, an international leader in the materials field, died December 13, 2005, after a lengthy illness. He continued working as R.F. Mehl Professor Emeritus at Carnegie Mellon University until the very end.
Born in New York City on July 10, 1924, Aaronson moved in 1936 to Jersey City, where he completed high school. Although his father and advisors discouraged him from going into engineering, his sister, Barbara, supported his goal. Hub envisioned great advances in engineering and he enrolled at Carnegie Institute of Technology (CIT), now Carnegie Mellon University, determined to become an engineer.
At the end of his second year, Hub was called into the service. He wanted to enter the U.S. Army Air Corps, and, helped by his comrades and others, he was able to do so. However, when he realized he was scheduled to enter bombardier school for B-24 Liberators, which had a poor survival rate, he showed up a week early at the B-17 training school instead. The bureaucracy absorbed this unprecedented change, and Hub went on to fly many B-17 missions during World War II.
When he resumed his studies after the war, he not only did very well in his classes, but also became editor of the campus newspaper. He completed his B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. in metallurgical engineering at CIT in 1948, 1954, and 1954, respectively.