Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Harvey Meieran June 7, 1934 - March 2, 2015 Engineer Who Played Alongside Orchestras

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Harvey Meieran June 7, 1934 - March 2, 2015 Engineer Who Played Alongside Orchestras

Article excerpt

He was a metallurgical, nuclear and robotics engineer who played the viola, taught classes for senior citizens about the fate of Norwegian Jews during World War II, was deeply read in history and an incorrigible punster.

Harvey Meieran, who died Monday in his Point Breeze home of congestive heart failure at age 80, could perhaps best be described as a polymath - a person of encyclopedic learning - possessed with not just a prodigious memory but the gift of keeping his family in stitches every day.

After the catastrophic nuclear accident at Chernobyl in 1986, Mr. Meieran traveled to the Soviet Union to evaluate the site and propose a cleanup plan using robotics technology. It was a field in its infancy at that time but one in which he already had expertise - he had worked on the cleanup of the very first accident at an experimental nuclear power reactor in Idaho in 1961 and had done consulting in Brazil.

"We were always worried about his adventures, but he was a very determined person," said his wife, Gillian, whom he met at Purdue University in Indiana, where he received his undergraduate and graduate degrees before earning his doctorate at the University of Michigan.

When Mr. Meieran returned home from Chernobyl, his sister saw some bottles of liquid that he was storing away.

"She asked what they were and he said, 'They're hot! Radioactive. Don't touch them.' And she believed him," his wife said, noting that they were bottles of water - and that her husband was having a little joke at his sister's expense.

Geopolitics intervened and Mr. Meieran's firm didn't get the cleanup job, but he continued to develop his expertise in robotics, especially in helping people with disabilities. A native of Cleveland, he moved to Pittsburgh in 1958 with his wife to work at the Bettis Atomic Power Plant, then owned by Westinghouse. He later worked on his own as a consultant - when he wasn't in rehearsals for a concert.

An accomplished amateur musician, Mr. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.