Harold W. Paxton, former head of the Department of Materials Science and Engineering (MSE), passed away on March 8, 2021. Paxton, U.S. Steel University Professor Emeritus, had an incredible impact on MSE through his research, mentorship, and leadership.
Paxton was an important part of the Carnegie Mellon University community for almost 70 years. He started his career at Carnegie Institute of Technology in 1953 as assistant professor of metallurgical engineering. During his time at Carnegie Tech, now Carnegie Mellon, he served as the head of MSE and director of the Metals Research Laboratory.
He will be remembered as an influential leader of the MSE Department and a globally recognized metallurgist who made significant contributions to the field.Greg Rohrer, Professor, MSE
“Harry Paxton is responsible for much of what MSE is today—he was a student, faculty member, and head of the department. His philosophy about materials science and engineering research and education is carried on in all our department activities. He will be remembered as an influential leader of the MSE Department and a globally recognized metallurgist who made significant contributions to the field,” says Greg Rohrer, professor of materials science and engineering and former head of the department.
After retiring from active teaching, Paxton worked as a consultant to government and industry. Some of his work was with United States Steel Corporation, where he served as vice president of research and eventually vice president of corporate research and technology assessment.
Paxton was often recognized for his impressive contributions to the field of physical metallurgy. He was a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, member of the National Academy of Engineering, and Fellow of the American Society for Metals and the Minerals, Metals & Materials Society of AIME (TMS). He was very active in professional societies, serving as president of TMS, chair of the General Research Committee of the American Iron and Steel Institute; and president of American Institute of Mining, Metallurgical, and Petroleum Engineers during his career.