Carnegie Mellon News Online Edition: May 10, 2001: William Mullins
Carnegie Mellon News Online Edition
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Auberjonois to Give Keynote Address

New Building for Posner Fine Arts

New Science Labs for Doherty Hall

Honorary Degrees

Student Speaker Nitya Venkataraman

Commencement Weekend at a Glance

Commencement Ceremonies and Receptions

Professors Earn Top Academic Distinction

William Mullins a "Scientists Scientist"

Timothy Burritt Dies in Motorcycle Crash

India Honors Reddy

H&SS Outstanding Service Awards

Architecture Aims to Unify "Allied Fields"

Am I Who I Am? Art Exhibit to Open

East Campus Garage to Install Pay-as-You-Park

Art Students Collaborate

Stephen Schwartz Attends ACS Dinner

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Mullins William Mullins, a "Scientist's Scientist," Dies at the Age of 74

William W. Mullins, university professor emeritus of materials science and engineering, died April 22 after a long battle with cancer.

Mullins, 74, was a member of the Carnegie Mellon faculty since 1960, when he joined the university as an associate professor of metallurgical engineering. He quickly rose from an associate professor to head of the Department of Metallurgy and Materials Science from 1963-66. He also served as dean of the engineering college.

Mullins was internationally recognized for his work in materials science and in 1995 received the Von Hippel Award, the Materials Research Society's highest honor. The award is given annually to an individual in recognition of outstanding contributions to interdisciplinary research on materials.

He also was the recipient of the Mathewson Gold Medal from the American Institute of Mining, Metallurgical and Petroleum Engineers.

"He was the scientist's scientist," said Robert Sekerka, university professor of physics and mathematics. "He had this wonderful ability to translate the very complex into new areas of understanding."

Mullins' research often took him to Germany, Australia and France. He studied at the University of Paris under a Guggenheim Fellowship and Fulbright Grant from 1961-62.

In 1984, Mullins was elected to the National Academy of Sciences. Sekerka said Mullin's research, involving the theory of stochastic processes, phase transformations and the stability of surfaces and interfaces, were all subjects that underlie much of modern materials science and engineering.

"He was a great, smart man," said Harold W. Paxton, the U.S. Steel university professor emeritus of materials science and engineering. "Everyone loved him."

Even in the tension of controversy, peers and friends recall that his demeanor was always studied and calm.

"He joined my husband, Dick Cyert, students and a number of faculty members in a march on the Federal Building downtown to protest the Vietnam War and the tragic events at Kent State University in which four students were killed," said Margaret Cyert, wife of the late Richard M. Cyert, the sixth president of Carnegie Mellon.

Before joining Carnegie Mellon, Mullins worked as a research physicist at Westinghouse Research Laboratories in Pittsburgh. He also was an adjunct professor at the University of Pittsburgh from 1956-60.

Mullins earned his master's and doctor's degrees in physics from the University of Chicago.

He is survived by four sons, William Jr. of Potomac, Md.; Oliver of Ridgefield, Conn.; Timothy of Pittsburgh; Gary of Bethesda, Md.; and nine grandchildren.

Chriss Swaney

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