New Gabel Chair in SEAS-John Bassani

Dr. John Bassani, a 1984-89 Presidential Young Investigator who has been on the engineering faculty here since 1980, has been named the first Richard H. and S. L. Gabel Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Penn.

He takes a new $2 million chair endowed by the family of Richard H. Gabel, ME '32, a world-renowned industrialist who is in SEAS's Gallery of Distinguished Engineering Alumni. An exceptionally active undergraduate who was class valedictorian as well as a member of the Glee Club, Penn Band, Mask & Wig and an Engineering theater group called Men About Towne, Mr. Gabel was founder and CEO of Superior Tube Company.

He kept close ties with SEAS throughout his life-not only with faculty and deans, but with students for whom he sometimes supplied materials for design projects. Among other honors he won the Alumni Award of Merit and the D. Robert Yarnall Award for Distinguished Service to the Engineering Profession and Society.

Last month his children endowed the new Gabel chair, named for their father and grandfather. By an additional gift they created the Bradley Gabel Memorial Fund (named for a stepbrother who died in 1991) for SEAS. Recalling Richard Gabel's role as benefactor and advisor to SEAS, Dean Gregory Farrington said that Professor Bassani's teaching and research fulfill "the high standards which your father set for us."

Dr. Bassani, who took his B.S. in mechanical engineering and M.S. in applied mechanics at Lehigh, earned his Ph.D. in engineering at Harvard in 1978. He spent a year as assistant professor at MIT before joining Penn in 1980 as assistant professor of mechanical engineering and applied mechanics. He added a secondary appointment in materials science and engineering in 1982, and was promoted to full professor in 1991.

"John Bassani has distinguished himself a true leader in his field of solid mechanics, and is considered by the elder statesmen now to be one of them," said Dr. Ira Cohen, chair of mechanical engineering/applied mechanics. "His research on crack growth and crystal plasticity has been characterized by the giants of the field as classical, his elegant theoretical work as superb, and his numerical calculations as definitive...he has had a profound impact on his field and no one can doubt that he will continue his leadership in the solid mechanics community for many years to come."


January 12, 1993
Volume 39 Number 17

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