Hertha Skala Haensel

Associate Professor of Engineering Nancy Lape submitted this remembrance:

One semester when I was an undergraduate at U Mass Amherst, we had to give presentations in a course in Alternative Energy Engineering taught by Prof. Vladimir Haensel.   We thought of him as a big shot because he had developed the process for using platinum as a catalyst that enabled the removal of lead from gasoline.  He won the Draper Prize, which is like a Nobel Prize for Engineering.

The day we gave our presentations, Vladimir’s wife was along to listen.  We thought she was an adorable grandmother type, knitting in the back.  We didn’t think more about her until the middle of the second presentation, when she asked a student to clarify the effect of particulate matter on the analysis the student was presenting!  Much to our surprise, we found out she was a scientist.  Later I discovered she was a Pharmaceutical chemist who had been involved in  developing catalytic converters.  In 1968 she was the first woman at Universal Oil Products (UOP) to be promoted to the level of assistant director; she later became Director of Catalysis Research.

At the time of her death she had three grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

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