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POL E. DUWEZ 1907-1984 BY MORRIS COHEN PoL E. DUWEZ, one of the worId's foremost scientists in the field of metals and materials, died in Pasadena, California, on December 3l, 1984, at the age of seventy-seven. At the time of his death, he was professor emeritus of applied phys- ics at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech). His contributions to the fields of education, research, and technology covered a remarkably wide range of solid-state phenomena. These phenomena included plastic cleforma- tion and wave propagation, heat transfer and transpiration cooling, powder metallurgy, stable and metastable alloy sys- tems, high-temperature alloys and ceramic materials, mag- netic and superconducting phases, and the discovery of me- tallic glasses by novel quenching from the liquid state. Professor Duwoz was an internationalist in his personal background as well as in his career. He was born on Decem- ber it, 1907, in Mons, Belgium, and received much of his schooling in that community. He earned a degree in metal- lurgical engineering at the Mons School of Mines, graduat- ing in 1932. During that formative period, he developed strong interests in music as well as in mathematics ant! phys- ics. Indeed, he starter! to study the cello at the age of six anct remained a serious cellist throughout most of his life, with special affection for chamber music. He continues] his scien- tific education at the University of Brussels, where he re- ceived his D.Sc. in physics in 1933. 139
140 MEMORIAL TRIBUTES In 1933 Dr. Duwez was also awarded a BeIgian-American Foundation fellowship, which enabler! him to spend the pe- rioct from 1933 to 1935 as a research fellow at the California Institute of Technology. There he was privileged to work under Theodore von Karman on the mechanical behavior of solids. This personal relationship and the concomitant professional experience were clestinecl to play a telling role in the uniqueness and scope of Po! Duwez's research achieve- ments cluring the ensuing years. In 1935, at the completion of his fellowship, he returned to Belgium, but not before meeting a gracious lacly, Nera Faisse, who became his bride and constant companion. Their daughter, Nadine, was born in Brussels two years later. During the next few years, Dr. Duwez was a member of the stab of the National Foundation for Scientific Research in Mons. Before long, however, he was appointed director of the National Laboratory for Silicates and assigned the task of establishing a new facility for ceramics research. This post gave him a fine opportunity to built] on his previous studies of solid-state materials. But complications of WorIc! War IT soon cut short his efforts. Fortunately all of the Duwez family members managed to escape from Belgium and find their separate ways back to Pasadena in 1940. The following year, Dr. Duwez worked as research engi- neer on various defense projects at Caltech. In this capacity, he was able to demonstrate van Karman's theoretical predic- tion regarding the propagation of plastic-(leformation waves in metals as a result of impact loading. From that point on, Pot Duwez's career at Caltech was assured. After Dr. Duwez received his U.S. citizenship in 1944, van Karman selected him to head the materials section of the newly organizer! let Propulsion Laboratory, a position he held until 1954. During that exciting clecacle of research in and development of high-temperature rocket materials, Dr. Duwez was also appointed to the Caltech faculty, first as as- sociate professor in 1947 and later, in 1952, as professor of materials science. He did not retire until 1978.
POL E. DUWEZ 141 As an educator, Po] Duwez's welI-known creativity flour- ished, not only in research but also in the development of new courses in physical metallurgy and materials science. His lectures were always carefully prepared and clearly focusecl, conveying substance with a minimum of embellishment. He was capable of inspiring students, both in teaching ant! in research, and offerer! a rare balance of imaginative ideas while patiently allowing students the freedom to explore. As a result, Professor Duwez and his students were often among the "firsts" on numerous fronts. They were leaders in the early investigations of titanium and molybdenum alloys for potential high-temperature applications; in the elucicla- tion of phase relationships exhibited by refractory rare-earth oxides; and in the proliferation of the "gun technique," com- monly referred to as "splat quenching," for the rapid quenching of alloys from the liquid state. The latter experi- mentation led to the retention of extraordinary clegrees of supersaturation in solid] solutions, to the formation of en- tirely new metastable crystalline phases, and, most signifi- cantly of all, to the discovery of metallic glasses. Uncler the guidance of Po! Duwez, it was also established for the first time that amorphous alloys can be ferromagnetic and even superconducting. These findings are now consicI- ered to have been a profound scientific acivance an ad- vance that paved the way for literally thousands of papers from laboratories around! the worIct. Moreover, ferromag- netic metallic glasses are now in commercial production for electric transformer anct device applications. it_ ~ , . ~ ~ . . . L,r. t~uwez-s exceptional accomplishments ano experience in the materials science and engineering of materials permit- tect him to contribute effectively to the work of many profes- sional and governmental committees. Among the latter, he served with distinction on the Scientific Advisory Board to the chief of staff of the U.S. Air Force, the U.S. Orcinance Aclvisory Boarcl on Titanium, the U.S. Navy Advisory Com- mittee on Molybclenum, the Subcommittee on Structural Materials of the National Aclvisory Committee for Aeronau-
142 MEMORIAL TRIBUTES tics, the Senior Scientists Steering Group of the U.S. Army Orcinance Corps, the Materials Research Council of the De- fense Advanced Research Projects Agency, ant! the NATO Advisory Group for Aeronautical Research anct Develop- ment. Professor Duwez's 120 publications, the success of his tal- entect students, and his extensive service on national and in- ternational committees have earned him the highest profes- sional esteem. The honors and awards he receiver! in this country and abroad are indicative: the Charles B. DudIey Awarc! of the American Society for Testing Materials (19511; the Champion H. Mathewson Gold Medal and the William Hume-Rothery Award of the Metallurgical Society of the American Institute of Mining, Metallurgical, and Petroleum Engineers (AIME) (1964 and 1981, respectively); Ec~warct DeMille Campbell Lecturer of the American Society for Met- als (19674; the Francis I. CIamer Silver Medal of the Franklin Institute (19681; the Albert Sauveur Achievement Award of the American Society for Metals (1973~; the Belgium Priz Gouverneur Cornez (19731; the Paul Lebeau Mecial of the French Society of High Temperature (19744; the Interna- tional Prize for New Materials of the American Physical So- ciety (19801; and the Heyn Medal of the Deutsche GeselIs- chaft fur MetalIkuncle (19811. He was elected to the National Academy of Sciences (1972), the American Academy of Arts and Sciences ~ 1976), and the National Academy of Engineer- ing (1979~. Dr. Duwez was also a fellow of the Metallurgical Society of AIME, the American Ceramic Society, the American Society for Metals, and the American Association for the Advance- ment of Science. He was a member of the American Physical Society, the Association of Appliect Solar Energy, the Society of Sigma Xi, and the American Association of University Professors. Internationally renowned in his field, he was also a member of the British Institute of Metals and the French Society of Civil Engineers. After Po! Duwez retired in 1978, he continued frequent
POL E. DUWEZ 143 contact with both his colleagues at Caltech and with his asso- ciates worIc~wicie until his final illness in 1984. He is survived by his wife Nera, of Pasadena; his daughter Nadine, of Paris; ant! a host of scientists and technologists who are the direct and indirect beneficiaries of his lifelong work. To all of us who had the privilege of knowing him, he will be remembered as a considerate, scholarly human being of independent spirit, who preferrer] not to follow trencis but rather to create them.