In Memoriam: March 2013Published: March 15, 2013
Mihir K. Das, 73, passed away on Dec. 3, within a few hours after suffering a massive cerebral hemorrhage. His only child, Sonia, was at his side. He was predeceased by his wife, Sipra, in 1997. Das was a professor emeritus of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at CSULB at the time of his passing.
Born in Purulia, West Bengal, India, Das was a brilliant student, always at the top of his class and was awarded merit scholarships all throughout his education. Institutions he attended included Purulia Zilla School, St. Xavier’s (Ranchi), Bihar Institute of Technology (BSME) and University of Birmingham, England (Ph.D.) where he was a Commonwealth Scholar.
Das married Sipra Das (nee Basu) in 1968 in Calcutta and Sonia was born the following year in Bombay. In 1969, the entire family moved to Birmingham, England, when he joined the faculty of the university there.
In 1981, Das was offered a professorship at CSULB and settled in Long Beach with his family. In 1987, he was appointed associate dean of engineering at CSULB and is the longest-serving engineering associate dean (18+ years). He is credited with developing the pioneering Ph.D. program in engineering and industrial mathematics jointly with Claremont Graduate University. He also developed and directed an innovative pilot program for five years called the Online MSEM (Master of Science in Engineering Management) with students in many parts of the world.
He was a popular teacher and loved interacting with students both face-to-face and in cyberspace. He taught at all levels—undergraduate, master’s and doctoral. He was instrumental in introducing computer-aided design (CAD) in the College of Engineering during his tenure as associate dean for instruction. His expertise included Advanced Manufacturing, CAD, Engineering Management, Strength of Materials, Quality and Continuous Process Improvement, as well on-line/distance education.
Das had more than 100 research and technical publications to his credit, two books and three international patents. He was an active consultant for both government and private corporations and was widely traveled on a professional level, delivering invited lectures around the world.
He also loved traveling with his family, taking numerous domestic and foreign trips. In recent years, he had taken to sailing on long cruises with his daughter. Recent trips had taken him to Mexico, Alaska, Yellowstone and other national parks in the western states, Honduras, Guatemala, Columbia, Costa Rica and Turkey. His other passions included Internet research, gardening and bridge.
Das will be remembered for many things—his intellectual prowess, his inspiration to his students (especially at the Ph.D. level), his interest in the world around him, his unfailing duty to his family, his love for his wife and daughter but most of all, his insatiable curiosity and zeal for life.
Donations may be made to the Dr. Mihir Das Memorial Fund in the Department of Mechanical Engineering.