Prof. Shmuel (Sam) Eilon

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Overview

Dear Mrs. Glass

First, I apologies for writing to you in English, but I do not have  the facility on my computer to write in Hebrew. In reply to your  enquiry, I am sure that somewhere i the Technion  archives there is information of how the Faculty of Industrial Engineering and Management was established, but I'll recount some of the events to the best of my recollection.

The Faculty was set up in 1957 and the trio in charge were Prof.. Sebastian Littauer from Columbia University in New York, Prof. Pinchas (Paul) Naor and myself. Prof. Littauer was at the time deputy to the Technion President General Yaacov Dori, who came to the Technion some time after the War of Independence. To my knowledge, Prof. Littauer did not relinquish his appointment at Columbia and was seconded to the Technion by coming for several visits of a few weeks or months at a time, to help General Dori to revamp the future academic program of the institution, one of the tasks being to establish a department or faculty of Industrial Engineering and Management. Prof. Littauer was renowned for his work in the field of statistical Quality Control, to which he made many contributions.

Prof. Naor, who (I believe) graduated from the Technion in Chemical Engineering  and then studied in the US, was interested in Statistics and did a great deal of research in Queuing Theory, was to look after the undergraduate program (there were some courses in Minhal already extant, mainly run by part-time staff; in fact there was a course in industrial engineering in the fourth year even when I was an undergraduate there, run by Prof. Max Kurrein, who was then the Head of the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering), whereas I was to look after the graduate program, starting with the development of a Master's  degree course.

The trio worked amicably and informally together, and to my recollection no Dean was appointed at the time (1957). A US sponsored economic aid program was set up to help Israel, financing two additional staff members who joined us from the US for 1-2 years, Prof.  Ehrenfeld in Statistics and Prof. E Richman in Industrial Engineering, both Assistant or Associate Prof.essors and both (I believe) came from New York. This assistance program provided help to other institutions as well, but I have no knowledge of their activities, except that they were co-ordinated by an American staffed office in Tel Aviv. Several other staff members joined us, some on a part- time basis, among them was Benjamin Avi-Itzhak, who was appointed as my assistant and soon thereafter moved on to work with Prof. Naor on research into queuing problems. He later joined the academic staff at the Technion and I understand that he then became a Prof.essor at Rutgers University in

the US.

I came to the Technion as a result of efforts by General Dori, egged on by his and my previous School Headmaster, Dr Biram, who was very keen that I should return to Israel. After my graduating from the Reali School under Dr Biram in Haifa, I went to the Technion and graduated in Mechanical and Electrical Engineering in 1945 (it was possible in those days to graduate in both simultaneously, if you took the right combination subjects), and after a five year spell in the army I went to Imperial College in London, where I took my PhD and stayed on to start what later became the Department of Management Science.

I was very happy at the Technion, and establishing a new department (Faculty) was a challenging and fascinating task. Prof. Naor was unfortunately killed in an air accident during one of his trips to/ from a conference in Europe and Prof. Littauer was very busy with his other academic and administrative duties, leaving him little time to devote to the new Faculty of Industrial Engineering and Management, and this meant that I was left in sole charge. I am not sure when the title Dean came into being in the new Faculty, nor do I recall whether I was awarded that title at the time (perhaps 'deans' as such came later at the Technion), but for all intents and purposes I can claim to acting in the capacity of a Dean in those days.

Sometime in 1959 Austin Albu (a minister in the Labour Government, who  was also a member of the Governing Bodies of both Imperial College and the Technion) visited the Technion and gave a public lecture about his experience. Suddenly he announced, to the astonishment of those present, that I had accepted an offer from  Imperial College to return later in the year as Reader (=Associate Prof.essor) to resume my earlier work of setting a new department there. My move signalled the end of a two-year spell at the new Technion Faculty, which continued to go from strength to strength. Alas, I do not recall who was appointed to replace me and who were the Deans that followed.

I hope that this information will help to fill some gaps in the record and that someone will write the full history of the Faculty. I would certainly be interested in getting a copy.

Please convey my best wishes to Dean and to the Faculty for continued success in the future. I am proud to have been part of their history.

Samuel Eilon