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Memorial Tributes, Volume 14
Elected in 1983
“For contributions to the thermodynamic properties of gases,development of successful automotive exhaust control systems,and utilization of alternative fuels.”
BY JULIUS J. HARWOOD
SERGE GRATCH, a much-honored member of the engineering profession, died December 4, 2007, at the age of 86. His career achievements and honors reflect a life of dedication and commitment to the advancement, innovative capabilities, and high standards of the engineering profession. His career spanned more than five decades in scientific research, in engineering developments, in research and development technical management, and as a university professor. He made distinguished contributions to such diverse fields as thermodynamic properties of gases, polymer science and synthesis, successful automotive exhaust control systems, alternate fuels, and engineering education. In the decade prior to his death, he retired first from the Ford Motor Research laboratory as director of Vehicle, Powertrain and Component Research and subsequently as professor emeritus from Kettering University (formerly GMI—General Motors Engineering and Management Institute).
Serge was born on May 2, 1921, in Monte San Pietro (Bologna), Italy. His father was a country doctor, and his mother was a homemaker with a degree in chemistry from the University of Bologna. He originally studied pre-med, but in 1939 Serge and his family emigrated to the United States to escape from the growing power and tyranny of the Fascist party. He became a naturalized U.S. citizen on February 21, 1945.