Low Plaza

Engineering School Honors Three Alums

Henry Michel

The Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science on Nov. 14 honored three Columbia alumni--Nobel physicist Leon Lederman, civil engineer Henry Michel and engineering innovator Vittorio Castelli--for their distinguished contributions in the fields of science, technology and engineering.

President George Rupp presented the Pupin Medal to Lederman and Michel and the Egleston Medal to Castelli during the school's annual Alumni Association awards dinner in Low Rotunda.

Lederman, the 1988 Nobel Laureate in Physics and director emeritus of the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, uncovered the secrets of neutrinos, muons and quarks, thus setting the agenda for the future of high energy physics. He earned his Ph.D. at Columbia in 1951 and was Higgins Professor of Physics and director of the Nevis Laboratories. He received the Nobel Prize in recognition of his work at Columbia during the 1960s.

Michel, who graduated from the engineering school with a B.A., has been a commanding presence in the field of civil engineering for half a century. The chairman emeritus of Parsons Brickerhoff Inc., Michel is recognized as a leader in the planning and management of public infrastructure projects and has received international acclaim for his management of transportation projects worldwide. The Pupin Medal is named for Michael Pupin, (1858-1935), the inventor of the X-ray photograph and Columbia alumnus who conducted pioneering research in electromechanics and telecommunications.

Vittorio Castelli

Leon Lederman

Castelli, who earned the M.A. and Ph.D. at the engineering school, served as chairman of the mechanical engineering department for 16 years and later joined Xerox as the founder of its mechanical engineering sciences laboratory. He wrote over 50 technical papers and holds more than 40 patents in fields ranging from fluid dynamics to color registration and motion control to crash sensors for automotive air bags. His work on gas bearing and fluid film lubrications laid the groundwork for the development of hard and floppy disks.

The Egleston Medal is the engineering school's highest honor, named for Thomas Egleston Jr., who was the guiding force behind the establishment in 1864 of the Columbia School of Mines, the predecessor of today's Fu Foundation School.

Published: Dec 11, 2000
Last modified: Sep 18, 2002

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