Inside Rensselaer
Volume 7, No. 7, April 12, 2013
   
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Manufacturing Pioneer Hugo 
Ferguson ’56 To Receive Davies Medal

 
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Manufacturing Pioneer Hugo
Ferguson ’56 To Receive Davies Medal

Celebrated innovator and metallurgist Hugo Ferguson ’56 will receive the prestigious Davies Medal for Engineering Achievement from the School of Engineering. Rensselaer will honor Ferguson, the founder, past president, and former chairman of Dynamic Systems Inc. (DSI), with a ceremony at 2 p.m. Monday, April 22, at the Heffner Alumni House. As part of the ceremony, Ferguson will speak about his distinguished career, including the founding of DSI and his invention of the Gleeble, a powerful simulation tool that revolutionized the field of welding. The talk will be followed by a reception, both of which are free and open to the campus community.

“Dr. Ferguson’s vision, leadership, and achievements in engineering have made an indelible impact on the manufacturing economy of our nation. His hard work and success exemplify the challenge we extend to all Rensselaer students—Dr. Ferguson has truly changed the world.”

“We are enormously pleased to present Dr. Ferguson with the Davies Medal for Engineering Achievement, the highest award given to an alumnus of our school,” said David Rosowsky, dean of the School of Engineering. “Dr. Ferguson’s vision, leadership, and achievements in engineering have made an indelible impact on the manufacturing economy of our nation. It is impossible to over-emphasize the role of his leadership and vision in pushing forward the field of welding, and his influence is clearly visible in the way we make today’s bridges, cars, ships, and anything else requiring welding. Dr. Ferguson’s hard work and success exemplify the challenge we extend to all Rensselaer students—Dr. Ferguson has truly changed the world.”

In honor of one of the Institute’s most accomplished, active, and loyal alumni, Clarence E. Davies ’14, Rensselaer established the Davies Medal for Engineering Achievement in 1980 to recognize a Rensselaer alumnus with a distinguished career of engineering achievement, public service, and technical and managerial accomplishments. The award is funded by an endowment from Mr. and Mrs. J. Erik Jonsson ’22.

Ferguson grew up on a small dairy farm with no money available for college. After high school he joined the U.S. Navy, and as a result of the G.I. Bill, a small scholarship, and a job, he was able to put himself through college. He graduated from Rensselaer in 1956 with a bachelor’s degree in physics, and without any debt. He returned to the Institute and earned his doctoral degree in metallurgy in 1962.

Shortly after graduating with his bachelor’s degree, Ferguson collaborated with Rensselaer faculty members Warren Savage ’43 and Ernest Nippes ’38 to invent the Gleeble, a powerful metallurgical simulation system. The Gleeble enabled researchers, for the first time, to simulate realistic welding processes in the laboratory under realistic thermo-mechanical conditions. The breakthrough served as a foundation for many key advances in materials science and engineering, and more broadly helped to pioneer the emerging field of process simulations.

Ferguson founded DSI in Poestenkill, N.Y., in 1957, and shortly thereafter developed the first commercial Gleeble system.

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Inside Rensselaer
Volume 7, Number 7, April 12, 2013
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
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