Betzalel Avitzur Obituary (2022) – Allentown, PA

Betzalel Avitzur passed away at home on January 19, 2022 at the age of 96. He received his PhD in mechanical engineering from the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor in 1959. After his PhD, he joined Ford Motor Company’s Scientific Labor where he solved a critical safety issue in steering columns (cavities formed during the manufacturing process). He joined Lehigh University in 1964 and was a professor in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering until 1995. In 1970 he founded the Institute for Metal Forming (now known as the Loewy Institute) and subsequently became its director.

He was elected a Fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers in 1982 and received the Blackall Machine Tool and Gage Award in 1988, the Mordica Memorial Award in 1996, and became an honorary member of the Japan Society for Technology of Plasticity in 1993. Throughout his career he created numerous inventions, including a patent for the seamless can and another for the manufacture of fine wire, which is used in microchips today. He is the author of several prominent textbooks in his field and has conducted and promoted research on deformation and fracture of metals with grants from the National Science Foundation and others. As an invited lecturer and visiting professor, he traveled extensively around the world, especially loved Japan and loved learning about other cultures.

A strict vegetarian and a keen sportsman, he could be found at the kitchen table almost every night of his life with a yellow legal pad, sharpened pencils and erasers, writing equations and later completing sudokus. He is survived by his loving wife Pnina, with whom he was 66, and their four children, Orly, Amir, Tal and Ron, and five grandchildren, Ari, Jonatan, Erica, Daniel and Alex.

Worship Services: A private memorial service was held. Arrangements by Bachman, Kulik & Reinsmith Funeral Home, Allentown.

Donations: In lieu of flowers, donations can be sent to the Keneseth Israel Congregation.

Published by Morning Call on January 23, 2022.

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