Hello,

We noticed you're browsing in private or incognito mode.

To continue reading this article, please exit incognito mode or log in.

Not an Insider? Subscribe now for unlimited access to online articles.

Stan Abkowitz, ’48

Metallurgist pioneered titanium alloys and new materials.

Metallurgist Stan Abkowitz still wears his MIT class ring, the brass smooth after 68 years. “All metals are good metals, depending on their purpose,” he says.

Abkowitz would know. He is a pioneer in the development of titanium metals and alloys and holds 24 U.S. and international patents in materials development and manufacturing technology. At the U.S. Army’s Watertown Arsenal Laboratory in 1951, he invented the most commercially successful titanium alloy, Ti-6Al-4V, which is still in use today. And it was the large-scale production of this alloy for the U2 high-­altitude reconnaissance plane, starting in the ’50s, that jump-started the titanium industry.

In 1972, Abkowitz founded Dynamet Technology; decades later, his company merged with RTI International Metals and soon was acquired by Alcoa. Abkowitz is now a senior technical fellow at Alcoa Titanium & Engineered Products in Burlington, Massachusetts, where at age 89 he works on powder materials operations alongside his daughter, Susan, general manager of his division.

This story is part of the November/December 2016 Issue of the MIT News Magazine
See the rest of the issue
Subscribe

“Retirement is not for me,” he says. “Work is my golf course.” He thinks of new business possibilities while shaving, he says.

The author of Titanium in Industry in 1955, the first book published on titanium, Abkowitz also wrote a monograph in 1999, The Emergence of the Titanium Industry. Later he earned the inaugural achievement award from the International Titanium Association and the lifetime achievement award from the American Society for Metals International. Abkowitz’s inventions include advanced materials for energy, defense, medical, and aerospace applications such as missile and aircraft components, as well as composite materials for medical implants.

Abkowitz was an ROTC student at MIT, where he studied chemical engineering. “As a freshman in uniform, one morning I remember walking down the Infinite Corridor, and walking in the other direction was MIT president Karl T. Compton,” he says. “I actually shook as I saw him approaching and saluted as I passed. I was so nervous because of the awe and respect I had for him as president of our great school.”

He and his wife, Lorraine, have three children and four grandchildren. An avid Boston Red Sox fan, Abkowitz likens baseball to successful entrepreneurship. “You need creativity to get to first base, passion to get to second; you must be willing to take risks to get to third and have a grand vision to get you home.”

The latest Insider Conversation is live! Listen to the story behind the story.

Subscribe today
Already a Premium subscriber? Log in.

Uh oh–you've read all of your free articles for this month.

Insider Premium
$179.95/yr US PRICE

Want more award-winning journalism? Subscribe to Insider Basic.
  • Insider Basic {! insider.prices.basic !}*

    {! insider.display.menuOptionsLabel !}

    Six issues of our award winning print magazine, unlimited online access plus The Download with the top tech stories delivered daily to your inbox.

    See details+

    What's Included

    Unlimited 24/7 access to MIT Technology Review’s website

    The Download: our daily newsletter of what's important in technology and innovation

    Bimonthly print magazine (6 issues per year)

/
You've read all of your free articles this month. This is your last free article this month. You've read of free articles this month. or  for unlimited online access.