Elected in 1992
“For enhancing the understanding and engineering of fibrous materials to improve their performance in ocean and other engineering applications.”
BY SUBHASH K. BATRA
SUBMITTED BY THE NAE HOME SECRETARY
STANLEY BACKER, professor emeritus, Department of Mechanical Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, succumbed after a prolonged illness on January 18, 2003, at the age of 82. Born on February 9, 1920, he was the second of three sons of Harry Backer, an immigrant from Lithuania, who owned the Central Clothing Company of Boston, MA. Stan, to his friends and to his students in their later life, attended Boston Latin High School and then entered MIT in 1937. He received his B.S. in engineering and management in 1941.
Upon graduation, Stan joined the military, where his supervisors soon recognized his talents and appointed him technical officer in the Materials Section of the U.S. Quartermaster Corps (QMC). In addition to his duties as a soldier, Stan engaged in research on problems related to textiles used by QMC and was soon promoted to the rank of major.
In 1944, when he completed his military service, he decided to stay on with QMC as a civilian, helping to organize and then direct the Laboratory for Fibrous Materials—a position he held until 1949. During that time he also completed the requirements for an M.S. in textile technology and received his degree from MIT in 1948.