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Former nuclear engineering head Mason dies at 85

Alumnus led department in the early 1970s.
Edward A. Mason, a former head of the Department of Nuclear Engineering, died on June 23 at his home in Osterville, Mass. He was 85.

Mason joined the faculty of the department when it formed in the late 1950s, having previously served as an assistant professor of chemical engineering. He served as department head from 1971 to 1975. 

Mason was a U.S. Navy veteran, and received his master's and doctorate degrees in chemical engineering from MIT after serving in World War II.

In 1974, President Gerald Ford appointed Mason as a commissioner on the first Nuclear Regulatory Commission. He began his government service in January 1975, when the commission was formally established. He subsequently served as vice president for research at Amoco Corporation. Mason was a member of the National Academy of Engineering and the New York Academy of Sciences; fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, American Nuclear Society, and the American Institute of Chemists; and member of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers, the American Chemical Society, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Richard K. Lester, the current head of the Department of Nuclear Science and Engineering, noted the influential role played by Mason in the early years of the department. “Ed was an outstanding figure in the development of the nuclear engineering discipline. Together with Manson Benedict and their students he shaped the field of nuclear chemical engineering. And even after leaving the department, Ed continued over many years to provide valuable advice and counsel to us. He will be greatly missed.”

Visiting hours will be from 4 to 7 p.m. on Friday, June 25, in the John-Lawrence Funeral Home, 3778 Falmouth Road (Route 28), Marstons Mills. A funeral Mass will be celebrated at 10 a.m. on Saturday, June 25, in Our Lady of Assumption Church, Wianno Avenue, Osterville. Burial will be private.

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