Charles W. Tobias was born on November 2, 1920 in Budapest, Hungary and died in 1996 in Orinda, California. He describes his family as an “engineering family” and realized that he would be an engineer from the age of 4 or 5. Music was a lifelong passion, but engineering was his career. Tobias was inspired to select chemical engineering by his high school chemistry teacher. He attended the University of Technical Sciences in Budapest, where he obtained his Ph.D. in 1946. He was part of the Hungarian diaspora, fleeing Hungary in 1947 as the Communists were taking over the government. He traveled to Berkeley to pursue postdoctoral studies at the University of California where his brother was already working for Ernest O. Lawrence at the University's radiation laboratory. W.M. Latimer, a pioneer in the thermodynamics of electrolytes and Tobias's new boss, directed him to “…build up engineering electrochemistry here, and it should be the best in the world.” By all measures, he succeeded. He began as an instructor in the newly formed Department of Chemical Engineering and then became an Assistant Professor in 1950 and Professor in 1960. He also chaired the department from 1967 until 1972.
Charles Tobias is considered by many to be the father of modern electrochemical engineering. He added discipline and rigor, putting many of the principles on a sound theoretical footing. He studied ...
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