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Professor Julian Szekely Dies at 61

A memorial service was held at the MITChapel on Friday for Professor of Materials Science and Engineering Julian Szekely, who died of cancer on Dec. 7 at age 61.

Szekely was best known for his research accomplishments, which included the development of a comprehensive mathematical model of fluid-flow, electromagnetics, and heat transfer for the refinement of metals. His work also provided the first qualitative analyses of plasma torches.

Some of Szekely's more recent research included the mathematical modeling of microgravity experiments flown aboard the space shuttle last year. Other recent work of Szekely's dealt with problems in welding and soldering in materials processing.

Szekely was born in Budapest, Hungary in 1934. He began a teaching career after receiving his PhD in chemical engineering from London's Imperial College in 1961. Before becoming a professor at MIT in 1975, Szekely taught at Imperial College and the State University of New York at Buffalo.

Szekely acted as an adviser and consultant to a number of steel companies, most notably during the 60s and 70s. His advice about steel-making technologies was directed at helping the industry overcome problems of obsolescence, labor costs, and pollution effects.

In addition to his research, Szekely was author of seven textbooks, more than 420 journal articles, and editor of 12 books.

Szekely was a staunch advocate of improving relations between the United States and Japan through increased scientific and technical cooperation, and recommended increased language training and the creation of joint appointments at leading universities.

He is survived by his wife, Joy, of Weston; four sons, M. Thomas Szekely of Telluride, Col., Richard J. Szekely, M. Tarquin Szekely and David A. Szekely, all of Weston; and a daughter, Rebecca Szekely of Washington, D.C.