It was with great sadness that the staff of the Melbourne School of Engineering, and those in Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering in particular, learned of the passing of Associate Professor Neil Gray on the 18th of October this year.
Associate Professor Gray earned his B.Sc in metallurgical and chemical engineering from the University of Adelaide in 1957, his M.Phil. from Imperial College, University of London in 1967, and his Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from the University of Adelaide in 1961. He joined the University of Melbourne as a Senior Lecturer in Metallurgical Engineering in 1968, after spending some years at the BHP Central research laboratories. After the closure of the Department of Mining and Metallurgy in 1982, he transferred to the Chemical Engineering Department as a Senior Lecturer and also became a senior staff member of the new G.K. Williams Laboratory for Extractive Metallurgy Research. He rose to Program Manager of the G.K. Williams Centre in 1992, Deputy Director in 1995 and Director in 2001.
During his time in the Department, he supervised many PhD students to the successful completion of their projects. His work had significant practical application in industry and he was recognised both nationally and internationally. The Department of Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering continues to earn income from the internal refractory cooler invention he patented and which is now used worldwide. Associate Professor Gray earned a number of awards and honours during his career, including the USA Minerals, Metals & Materials Society (TMS) Extraction & Processing Division Extraction & Processing Science Award in 2000.
He was a friend, teacher and mentor to many staff and students in the Department, and will be sadly missed. He is survived by his wife Audine, his five children and fourteen grandchildren.