Moshe Rosen, 67, professor, chairman of materials engineering at Hopkins

May 01, 1999|By Frederick N. Rasmussen | Frederick N. Rasmussen,SUN STAFF

Dr. Moshe Rosen, a Holocaust survivor who became a professor of materials engineering and served as chairman of that department at the Johns Hopkins University, died Tuesday at Johns Hopkins Hospital after a short illness. He was 67.

The former Rockville resident, who recently moved to the Carlyle Apartments in the Homewood section of Baltimore, joined the Hopkins faculty in 1982. He served as chairman of the department of material science and engineering from 1988 to 1992 and was still teaching and conducting research at his death.

"He was an expert in using ultrasound to look at the microstructures of metals," said Robert E. Green Jr., director of the Center for Nondestructive Evaluation, which Dr. Rosen helped establish at the university.

One of Dr. Rosen's first projects after coming to Hopkins in the early 1980s was conducting a thorough analysis of the metal used to build the first space shuttle, Columbia, to see if it was possibly the cause of the vehicle's loss of its insulating tiles.

"He'd look at the internal structures of metals, ceramics and composites to see if they had been properly made," said Mr. Green, who brought Dr. Rosen to Hopkins.

"He got along very well with his students, and he helped make sure they got jobs after they graduated." he said.

At the time of his death, Dr. Rosen was editor-in-chief of the international scientific journal Ultrasonics. He was a former president of the Maryland Institute of Metals.

Dr. Rosen was born in Cernauti, Romania. At age 7, he was sent with his family to a German concentration camp at Transnistria, Romania.

"There they suffered greatly. He was beaten and, because there was little food, he was forced to eat stale potato peels. It was very horrifying," said his wife of 45 years, the former Leah Brender.

"He never talked about it. He wanted to erase it from his mind. He wanted to get rid of those memories," she said.

After the war ended, the family returned to their home only to find that Romania had fallen under the domination of Soviet dictator Josef Stalin and the Communists.

Dr. Rosen and his family attempted to emigrate to Palestine in 1947 but were rebuffed by the British authorities. The family spent a year in an internment camp on Cyprus before entering what eventually became Israel.

"When they got there in 1948, the war for independence broke out," said Mrs. Rosen.

Because his education was interrupted by World War II, Dr. Rosen was largely self-educated as a youth. In Israel, he worked building roads and as a mechanic until he joined the Israeli army.

Trained as a pilot, he flew in the Sinai War in 1954 and in the Six Days War in 1967.

In 1958, he earned a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering and physical metallurgy and, in 1961, a master's degree in the subject from Israel's Technion Institute of Technology. He earned his doctorate in 1967 in solid-state physics from the Weizmann Institute of Science, also in Israel.

He joined the faculty of Ben Gurion University in Beersheba, where he established the materials sciences department.

In 1979, he was appointed a visiting professor at the University of California at Berkeley. In the early 1980s, he moved to Gaithersburg to work at the federal Bureau of Standards.

"Considering all the problems he had in life, he might have been bitter with the world, but he wasn't. He was a very friendly and kind man who always wanted to help his students," Dr. Green said.

Fluent in several languages, Dr. Rosen translated technical books from Russian to English. A voracious reader, he attended lectures at the National Gallery of Art in Washington and performances by the National Symphony Orchestra.

Dr. Rosen was a member of Ezrat Israel Congregation in Rockville.

Services were held Thursday. In addition to his wife, Dr. Rosen is survived by three sons, Dr. Ron Rosen of Baltimore; Dr. Boaz Rosen and Dr. Itzhak Rosen, both of Israel; a brother, Zvi Rosen of Israel; a sister, Chedva Pinchaz of Israel; and five grandchildren.

Pub Date: 5/01/99

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