Skip to content ↓

Former VP Carl Flow dies at 90; was professor emeritus of metallurgy

Carl F. Floe, a professor of metallurgy who served as MIT's vice president for research for 10 years during a 34-year career at the Institute, died May 18 of a heart attack at his residence in Boston. He was 90 years old.

When he resigned the vice presidency in 1969, Professor Floe returned to the classroom in the Department of Metallurgy. He became professor emeritus in 1973. After retiring from MIT, he continued to consult to industry in the United States and overseas.

Professor Floe, born in the Klondike Region of Canada's Yukon Territory on Jan. 1, 1908, received the ScD in metallurgy from MIT in 1935. He had a bachelor's degree and a master's degree from Washington State University, where he also was a member of the faculty before coming to MIT. Professor Floe taught at Notre Dame University for three years before he was named an assistant professor at MIT in 1939.

He became an associate professor in 1942 and served as executive officer of the Department of Metallurgy from 1943-50, the year he was appointed to a full professorship. He was named assistant provost in 1952, assistant chancellor in 1956 and vice president for research administration in 1959.

While a vice president, he oversaw the activities of the Lincoln and Draper Laboratories. He also represented MIT on the boards of the Brookhaven National Laboratory, the National Center for Atmospheric Research and the National Radio Astronomy Laboratory. He also chaired the Harvard-MIT Joint Center for Urban Studies and the MIT Committee on Copyrights and Patents.

During World War II, Professor Floe was a consultant to the US Army Quartermaster Corps and several defense industries. He was a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Institute of Mining and Metallurgical Engineers, the American Society for Metals, the Iron and Steel Institute and the Institute of Metals, the last two in the United Kingdom.

He was a member of Sigma Xi, Tau Beta Pi, Sigma Tau and Alpha Chi Sigma. He was a member of the St. Botolph Club and the Algonquin Club, both in Boston, and the University Club of New York.

Professor Floe is survived by his ex-wife, Beverly Brooks Floe; three children, Jonathan T. of Somerville, Mrs. David Holdgate of Norwich, CT, and Charles P. of London; 10 grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

Funeral services were private. A memorial service will be scheduled. In lieu of flowers, the family has requested that gifts be made to the Department of Materials Science and Engineering.

Other obituaries


Elizabeth R. Hodgman, 90, a former senior research staff technician and supervisor at Lincoln Lab, died on April 15. She was hired in 1953 and retired in 1972. Names of survivors were unavailable.

A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on June 3, 1998.

Related Topics

More MIT News