Elected in 1978
“For national and international leadership in materials development for aircraft and for national materials policy.”
BY BHAKTA RATH
NATHAN E. PROMISEL, a retired metallurgical engineer who was chief materials engineer of the Naval Air Systems Command for 25 years, died on December 15, 2005, at the age of 97. He was known to his colleagues as “Mr. Materials Science” and is credited for helping make the Command’s materials laboratory one of the leading research facilities in the nation. Nate was elected to the National Academy of Engineering in 1978.
He was born June 20, 1908, in Malden, Massachusetts. He skipped three years of elementary school. He received bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the latter in 1930.
Concerned about future job prospects, and faced with a nice offer, he left MIT upon receipt of his master’s degree in 1930 and went to work for the International Silver Company in Meriden, Connecticut, where he was assistant director of the laboratory. He was with the company from 1930 to 1940 and, at the same time, continued his studies at Yale University, where he also earned B.S. and M.S. degrees.
In 1931 he married Evelyn Sarah Davidoff, a registered nurse, to whom he was happily married for more than 50 years, until Evelyn died in 1995. At the time of his own death , Nate had a son, two daughters-in-law, five grandchildren, and 10 great-grandchildren; another son had died in 1998.