Mechanical engineering professor emeritus Barry Lichter died Feb. 1

Barry D. Lichter, 82, professor of mechanical engineering and professor of materials science and engineering emeritus, died Feb. 1 in Nashville.

Barry D. Lichter

Lichter, a native of Chelsea, Mass., received his bachelor’s degree in 1953 and his doctorate in 1958, both in metallurgy from MIT.

Following research positions at the University of California Berkeley’s Lawrence Livermore Laboratory and Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Lichter joined the materials engineering faculty at the University of Washington where he developed his research in corrosion and thermodynamics of metals and alloys.

In 1968 Lichter joined the Vanderbilt School of Engineering where he continued his internationally acclaimed research. Lichter served as a visiting professor at the University of Lille in France and Delft University of Technology in Holland. He retired in 1997 and was appointed an emeritus professor in 2007.

In addition to his research, Lichter was devoted to the education of students, teaching not only engineering courses, but also courses in engineering ethics, philosophy and engineering, and technology and human values. After his retirement, he continued his research at both Vanderbilt and the Delft University of Technology.

He was the author or co-author of more than 75 scientific publications. He was a fellow of the National Humanities Faculty and fellow of the National Project on Philosophy and Engineering Ethics.

Lichter was an accomplished musician, especially banjo and guitar, and performed occasionally in Nashville clubs. After his retirement he wrote and published poetry; one of his poems won a poetry journal prize. For many years he was active in issues of social justice in Nashville, largely through the Belle Meade United Methodist Church.

He is survived by his wife, Simin Souroush; brother, Robert Lichter (Diane Scott-Lichter) of Alford, Mass.; and sister Nancy Lichter Seebert (Bill Seebert) of Gresham, Ore.; five stepchildren; 11 grandchildren, and six great grandchildren.