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Elected in 1979

“For pioneering developments in the fields of surface, colloid and polymer chemistry, membrane science and technology, and advanced systems for drug delivery to the human body.”


ALAN S. MICHAELS, a talented, creative, and influential educator, inventor, and entrepreneur in the field of chemical engineering, and one of the pioneers in biomedical engineering and biotechnology, died on January 16, 2000, in his winter home in Pasadena, California, after a prolonged illness. He was 77 years old.

Alan was born in Boston, Massachusetts, on October 29, 1922, the elder of two sons of Harry (who was a lawyer) and Edith Michaels. He grew up in Boston and Newton, Massachusetts, and attended Newton High School, graduating in 1941 prior to entering MIT to study chemical engineering. Like many of his contemporaries who chose to study chemical engineering, he decided on the subject because he liked chemistry but wanted to do practical work. His studies were interrupted in 1942 for military service with the U.S. Army Chemical Warfare Service. He saw combat in Germany as a mortar platoon officer (first lieutenant) and was awarded a Bronze Star. One of the few WWII memories he shared with his two sons was of drinking vodka with the Russians on the Elbe on VE day. Alan returned to MIT in 1945 to complete his B.S. (technically class of ’44), S.M. in chemical engineering practice (1947), and Sc.D. (1948). His doctoral thesis, “The Measurement of Interfacial Tension at Elevated Temperatures and Pressures,” was directed by Ernst Hauser.

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