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Ernest Rabinowicz, professor emeritus of mechanical engineering, dies at 79

Ernest Rabinowicz
Ernest Rabinowicz

Ernest Rabinowicz, professor emeritus of mechanical engineering, died April 3. He was 79.

Rabinowicz worked at MIT for 43 years before retiring in 1993. He was known for his work in tribology, the study of the design, friction and wear of interacting surfaces such as bearings. In 1998, he received the Tribology Gold Medal Award from the Institution of Mechanical Engineers in England.

His seminal book "Friction and Wear of Materials" has been widely cited. He is also the co-author of "Physical Measurement and Analysis," which he wrote with Nathan H. Cook, his longtime friend and colleague. Rabinowicz also co-authored "Introduction to the Mechanics of Solids."

He also produced a video through the MIT Center for Advanced Engineering Studies which has been used by many engineers in industry.

A graduate of Cambridge University with a Ph.D. in physical chemistry, he also worked as a consultant to a wide range of companies during his MIT career, traveled internationally as an expert witness, and spent a sabbatical at the Haifa Technion in Israel.

He is survived by his wife, Ina (Feldman) Rabinowicz; three daughters, Deena Dugan of Silver Spring, Md., Judith Raymond of Stamford, Conn., and Laura Rabinowicz of Chicago, Ill.; two sisters, Hedda Boxer of London and Ilse Saltzman of Israel; a brother, Norman Rabinowicz of Colorado; and seven grandchildren.

Donations may be made to the Alzheimer's Association, 311 Arsenal St., Watertown, MA 02472, or Combined Jewish Philanthropies of Greater Boston, 126 High Street, Boston, MA 02110.

A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on April 12, 2006 (download PDF).

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