Kamel Salama, former professor of mechanical engineering with the UH Cullen College of Engineering, died Friday, July 12, 2019 at M.D. Anderson Hospital following an extended illness. He was 87.
Passionate about science and education, he nurtured many young scientists and made significant contributions in the area of materials science. He held 10 patents.
Born in Souhag, Egypt, Salama received a bachelor’s degree in physics and mathematics, followed by a master’s degree and doctorate in physics from Cairo University.
He first joined the University of Houston in 1973 as a visiting professor for a year, and then served as an associate professor until 1978. At that point he served as a professor and director of the materials engineering program. Altogether Salama taught and led an active research program at UH for over 35 years.
During that time, he established the materials science and engineering program at UH and mentored more than 60 master’s and doctoral students. He also directed a research team in the Superconductor Processing and Application Group at the Texas Center for Superconductivity and Advanced Materials.
“He was part of our department right from its inception and made lasting and valuable contributions to our University,” said Pradeep Sharma, M.D. Anderson Professor and chair of the mechanical engineering department. “He was a kind mentor to many of us and was always ready with a chuckle.”
Salama was a visiting scientist in the Materials Characterization Section of the NASA Langley Research Center in Virginia in 1983. He also did research work at Uppsala University in Sweden, the Ford Scientific Laboratory in Michigan and at Rice University.
He collected many accolades in his lifetime, including the Jacob Wallenberg Foundation Award for his research in materials science from the Swedish Academy of Engineering, being elected a Fellow of the Institute of Physics (United Kingdom) and an honorary fellowship from the International Congress on Fracture.
“Our faculty, staff and students are deeply saddened by this news,” said Joseph W. Tedesco, Elizabeth D. Rockwell Dean of the Cullen College. “We were blessed to have him share his extensive knowledge and expertise with our community. Our hearts go out to his family and loved one at this very difficult time.”
Visitation for Dr. Salama will be held 6-8 p.m. on Tuesday, July 16, 2019 at the Memorial Oaks Funeral Home, 13001 Katy Freeway. His funeral service is at 1 p.m. Wednesday, July 17, at the St. Mary and Archangel Michael Coptic Orthodox Church, 15770 Farm to Market Road 529; followed by burial at the Memorial Oaks Cemetery.