David R. Hart
An Extraordinary Engineer and Teacher
Inducted in 1999
Gifted at sharing his impressive knowledge of a complex field, the late chemical engineer David R. Hart held 10 patents and made an equally indelible mark on engineering education in the state of Alabama. Dr. Hart obtained his own education at Auburn University (B.S. in chemistry, 1951) and The University of Alabama (M.S. and Ph.D. in chemical engineering in 1970 and 1975, respectively). While carrying on a distinguished career in industry, Dr. Hart also served as an adjunct professor at both his alma maters, as well as at The University of Alabama at Birmingham. He proved to be an outstanding teacher, able to effectively communicate difficult concepts to the many students he taught.
The 40 years of Dr. Hart’s career in engineering included work as both a chemical and mechanical engineer. For 18 years he was an innovator with U.S. Pipe and Foundry Company, now Jim Walter Resources in Birmingham. Initially employed as a research chemical engineer, his hard work was ultimately rewarded by his appointment as director of chemical research at the company.
In 1977, Dr. Hart joined RUST International, also in Birmingham, to serve as a project manager. Responsible for multimillion-dollar projects, Dr. Hart met and exceeded the high standards of clients including Lockheed, Dow Corning, and Georgia Pacific. As a project manager, he completed diverse undertakings, with some of his most significant technical contributions coming in the area of energy conversion. Specifically, he pioneered important concepts in bio-mass utilization and the use of solvent-refined coal.
Dr. Hart published numerous technical papers discussing chemical applications in the foundry and rubber industries as well as a chapter of a book on distillation design. He patented manufacturing processes for chemicals and tires, and in 1995 his achievements as an engineer were acknowledged by his being named a Fellow of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers. This designation is the highest honor bestowed by his profession. In addition, Dr. Hart was named to a select group of Distinguished Engineering Fellows honored on the occasion of the 150th anniversary of the University of Alabama College of Engineering. He had previously been named an Outstanding Fellow by the College’s Department of Chemical Engineering. An active member of AIChE and the American Chemical Society, Dr. Hart also belonged to Phi Lambda Upsilon, Phi Kappa Phi, Tau Beta Pi, Omega Chi Epsilon, the Order of the Engineer, and Sigma Xi. He was recognized by inclusion in Who’s Who in the South and Southeast, American Men and Women of Science, and Leaders in American Science.
David Hart married the former Carol Dorrough in December of 1951. The couple raised two children, Mark and Jody.