In addition, he was a fellow of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers, the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, and the International Centre for Heat and Mass Transfer, in Belgrade. He served as chairman of the advisory committee of Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Engineering Technology Division, and as a member of the U.S.-USSR Cooperative Program in Heat and Mass Transfer.
George’s children said that they first learned about their father’s work in “boiling heat transfer” when they spent a summer in Pasadena when he was working at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, but it was not until 10 years later that they learned he had worked on the design of the reentry heat shield on the Mercury space capsule. They also spent time with him at Oak Ridge National Laboratory but again did not know that their father was working on nuclear power.
In fact, nuclear power as an alternative energy source was one of George’s passions. In a letter published in the Chicago Tribune in November 1993, he wrote: “This nation cannot afford to burden itself with high energy costs; too many jobs are lost as a result. It is up to the media to initiate a realistic re-examination of nuclear energy, which is, in fact, the least environmentally damaging and most reliable of all energy sources.”
George Bankoff is survived by his wife, Elaine Bankoff; his three children—Joseph Bankoff, Elizabeth Bankoff, and Jay Bankoff; his six grandchildren; and a sister, Eleanor Stein.