Book review: Men of Metals and Materials – My Memoirs
December 5, 2012
The memoirs of Professor Upadhyaya provide a unique and personal insight into the professional life of one of India’s prominent metallurgists spanning several decades from the 1960s to the new Millennium.
The Memoirs are a refection of his own life’s experiences and contributions to science, but above all they bring into focus the many people he came into contact with in the course of his professional career as a teacher and researcher. They also provide a fascinating personal insight into the development of advanced and high performance metals and materials.
The title of the book is perhaps a little misleading because most of Professor Upadhyaya’s life was in fact dedicated to the branch of metals and materials in ‘powder’ form, and so most of his friendships and contacts with the men mentioned in his memoirs also have a strong leaning towards one or another branch of Powder Metallurgy.
Professor Upadhyaya was obviously keen at a young age to broaden his outlook on the world of metals. This followed a visit to a Tata Steel plant where he wrote, ‘The most exciting scene for me was the teeming of the pig iron from the blast furnace’.
Having graduated in metallurgical engineering at the Banaras Hindu University (BHU) he travelled by ship to the United Kingdom in December 1960 to undertake his Master of Science degree in the Department of Industrial Metallurgy at the University of Birmingham. His book recalls his encounters with the academics who were active in the Department at the time, including many who themselves made it to prominence in the field of metals.
He returned to India in 1963 and in 1966 embarked on another post-graduate adventure with a three year period at the Ukrainian Academy of Sciences in Kiev to do his PhD under the supervision of the renowned Professor Samsorov. Both his times in the UK and the Soviet Union are described with affection for the many people he met and who influenced his later life.
Professor Upadhyaya’s personal accounts of the ‘men of metals’ is divided into two main sections. One deals with his time as professor at the University of Roorkee (now Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Roorkee) and IIT Kanpur where he led the Department of Physical Metallurgy and Materials Processing from 1976 until his retirement in 2001.
Another chapter covers his personal accounts of some of the famous men of metals and materials from other institutions in India with whom he interacted, and particularly those involved with the Powder Metallurgy Association of India of which he was President for two terms. To mention just a few Dr. Antia, Dr. Brahm Prakash, Dr. Tamhankar, Dr. Rama Rao, Professors G.S. Tendolkar, S.K. Joshi, CNR Rao and others.
His list of men of metals with whom he interacted outside of India is equally impressive with descriptions of his professional and personal relationships with no fewer than 46 pro-eminent men such as Professors Morris Cohen, Rustom Roy, Kuczynski, Hausner, Bunshah (USA), Professors Petzow, Thümmler and Exner (Germany), Dr. Henri Pastor (France), Professor Somiya (Japan), and many more.
It is an honest and revealing account not only of the men of metals he encountered and befriended, but also of the advances that were being made especially in the field of Powder Metallurgy.
In his ‘Epologue’ Professor Upadhyaya offers his own views on some of the burning issues facing India at the present time with regard to scientific R & D, engineering education and the management in the metallurgical industry. He published a paper on this topic in Consulting Ahead, Vol.3 No.1, 2009. He has authored or co-authored more than 300 technical papers, and has written 4 textbooks and seven monographs.
‘Men of Metals and Materials – My Memoirs’ was reviewed by Bernard Williams, Founding Executive Director, European Powder Metallurgy Association, and former publisher of Metal Powder Report and the International Journal of Refractory Metals & Hard Materials.
‘Men of Metals and Materials – My Memoirs’ by Gopal, S. Upadhyaya.
ISBN 978-1-46201-840-6, 234 pages, softcover & e-book, 2011. Published by iUniverse
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