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Memorial Tributes, Volume 12
engineering graduate willing to study chemistry, physics, and mathematics in the College of Liberal Arts while conducting basic research on the development of a new line of cutting fluids. In return for being able to work as a mechanical engineer, Shaw was willing to start over as a liberal arts student, with an emphasis on chemistry. This unique cooperative program was sponsored by the Cincinnati Milling Machine Company (predecessor of Cincinnati Milacron).
In his first year, Shaw studied all of the material required for an undergraduate chemistry major. In the next three years, he took every available graduate course in chemistry and some in physics and mathematics. In 1942, after writing a doctoral thesis on the chemical aspects of cutting-fluid action, he received his Sc.D. As a result of his interdisciplinary studies, a combination of engineering and physical sciences became the foundation for his research.
Late in the fall of 1941, as he was finishing work on his degree, he was offered and accepted an assistant professorship at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). However, a few days after the attack on Pearl Harbor, his future boss at MIT called and told him to report immediately to Langley Field, Virginia, to work in the Engine Division of the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA), later NASA. In the spring of 1942, he moved to the Lewis Laboratory near Cleveland, where he worked his way up to the position of chief of the Materials Branch at NACA.
Early in 1946, Shaw was finally able to return to his teaching position at MIT, where, with strong support from industry, he established a first-class materials-processing research program. The primary focus of the program was on metal cutting and grinding, and doctoral students working under his supervision produced numerous high-quality research papers on a variety of problems, such as grinding-process temperatures, the temperatures generated ahead of the cutting tool in machining, measurement of forces and the number of cutting points in grinding, the influence of chip thickness on size effects, and the dynamics of chip formation and fracture. Thus Shaw became a world leader in research on metal cutting and grinding, and