In Memoriam: David R. Gaskell, Ph.D. (1940-2013)
Dr. David Robert Gaskell passed away on April 7th, 2013 at the age of 73 in West Lafayette, Indiana. At the time of his death, he was a Professor of Metallurgical Engineering at Purdue University, where he had served as a faculty member since 1982. Dr. Gaskell was born in Glasgow, Scotland and attended The Royal College of Science and Technology, receiving First Class Honors in Metallurgy and Technical Chemistry for his B.Sc. in 1962. He was married to Sheena Morrow on July 11, 1964 and shortly thereafter they immigrated to Hamilton, Canada for his pursuit of graduate studies at McMaster University. He received the International Nickel Company of Canada Fellowship to support his graduate work from 1965-1967. His Ph.D. degree was awarded in 1967 with the completion of his thesis project, “The Densities of Liquid Silicates Containing Iron Oxide at 1410°C.” He was named as a Distinguished Alumnus of McMaster University in 1977.
Dr. Gaskell’s first faculty position was at the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA, where he taught from 1967-1982 in Metallurgy and Materials Science. He was recruited in 1982 to Purdue University at the rank of Professor. During Dr. Gaskell’s career he served as a Visiting Professor, National Research Council of Canada, Atlantic Regional Laboratory, in Halifax, Nova Scotia (1975-1976) and as a Visiting Professor, G.C. Williams Co-operative Research Centre for Extraction Metallurgy, in the Department of Chemical Engineering, University of Melbourne (1995). He also held a position during his sabbatical in Australia as a Visiting Scientist, Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), in Clayton, Victoria.
Professor Gaskell served as the thesis advisor for numerous Master’s and Ph.D. degree students, many of whom were international students, as well as the faculty mentor for dozens of undergraduate student projects. Independently and in collaboration with colleagues at Purdue University, he developed a variety of topical courses in his specialty. He was dedicated to the presentation of his subject matter and was the recipient of the Schuhmann Best Teaching Award in Materials Engineering several times over. He particularly enjoyed his discussions with students from a variety of disciplines and served as a Faculty Fellow in Earhart Residence Hall from 2000-2006. He held membership on the Freshman Engineering Curriculum Committee from 1997-2013 and on Purdue University’s Senate, Senate Steering and Grievance Committees. He was prominent in his professional activities, including the Metallurgical Society of AIME (1970-2013), Alpha Sigma Mu (President, 1985-1986), the Extraction and Processing Division Congress (Chairman, 1990 & 1991), the Iron and Steel Society Transactions International Advisory Board (Member, 1995-2013), and the Executive Steering Council, Indiana Industries of the Future Project, Indiana Business Modernization and Technology Corporation (Member, 2002-2013). In 2000, Dr. Gaskell was named as the Iron and Steel Society Elliott Memorial Lecturer. Since 2010, Professor Gaskell has been listed in the Who’s Who in Science and Engineering.
Dr. Gaskell’s funded independent and collaborative research resulted in prolific journal publications, conference proceedings, textbook contributions, reviews, editorial roles, and specialized short courses around the world. He was the author of the textbooks “Introduction to Metallurgical Thermodynamics”, “An Introduction to the Thermodynamics of Materials”, which was in its 5th Edition, and “An Introduction to Transport Phenomena in Materials Engineering”, the 2nd Edition of which was published in August 2012.
Professor Gaskell was gifted with an exceptional combination of intellect and curiosity that made his academic work of the highest priority to him. He was never without his trusty fountain pen and notepad in his front pocket, ready to capture his thoughts and ideas. He frequently recounted to his family that he could never imagine retiring because he enjoyed his work too much to stop voluntarily. Over his lifetime, Dr. Gaskell had many hobbies, including playing the guitar, piano and bagpipes, photography, building and flying model airplanes, coin and stamp collecting, and sampling cuisines from around the world. In recent years, he became a Spanish language enthusiast, travelling to Mexico and South America to practice his language skills, and continued with his lifelong love of reading literature, mysteries and newsmagazines. Professor Gaskell is survived by Sheena Gaskell (West Lafayette, IN), and their three children and families: Sarah Gaskell, Andy, Mac and Ivy Larson (Verona, WI), Claire (Gaskell), Kurt and Hugh Hankenson (Philadelphia, PA), and Andrew and Jill Gaskell (Chicago, IL). He is also survived by his sister and brother-in-law, Jilly and Derek Hazeldine (Austwick, England). The family will be holding a private memorial service. In lieu of flowers, those wishing may contribute to the David R. Gaskell Memorial Scholarship in Materials Engineering by contacting Robyn Oldfather, Director of Development, at 765-494-4094 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. Donations may also be made to the Lafayette Urban Ministry, one of Dr. Gaskell’s favorite charitable organizations.