Greek MIT Lecturer George Hatsopoulos Dies at 91

George Hatsopoulos

George Nicholas Hatsopoulos has died at the age of 91.

Born in Athens in 1927, Hatsopoulos was a Greek-American mechanical engineer, famous for his work in thermodynamics and for having co-founded with Peter Nomikos Thermo Electron, a major provider of analytical instruments and services for a variety of domains.

Hatsopoulos attended the Athens Polytechnic before entering MIT, where he received his Bachelor and Master of Science in 1950 and a Doctorate of Science in mechanical engineering straight after.

He was a junior in high school during World War II, when Nazis occupied Greece. His family was one of many who were forced to house Nazi officers in their home.

It was at this time when Hatsopoulos managed to build radios using parts he found in the trash and would listen to broadcasts about the Allied Forces’ efforts — something completely outlawed by the Nazis who lived upstairs.

In 1999 his company, Thermo Electron, had more than 24,000 employees in 23 countries around the world.

In 2006, Thermo Electron merged with Fisher Scientific to form Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc., and became one of the world’s largest biotechnology companies.

In MIT, Hatsopoulos was named senior lecturer, a role he held from 1965 until 1990. However, even after retiring in 1990, MIT remained an integral part of Hatsopoulos’ life, as he became a life member emeritus of the MIT Corporation.