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For immediate release: June 4, 2003
Contact: Eric Quiñones, (609) 258-5748, quinones@princeton.edu

Emeritus Professor Durbin dies

PRINCETON, N.J. -- Enoch Durbin, who taught mechanical and aerospace engineering at Princeton for nearly 40 years and whose eclectic mix of research subjects included alternative fuels and tennis rackets, died May 27 at his home in Princeton. He was 80.

Durbin came to the University in 1953 as a member of the research staff and rose to the rank of senior research aeronautical engineer and lecturer before joining the faculty as a professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering in 1965. He transferred to emeritus status in 1993.

The main focus of Durbin's most recent research was alternative fuels, fuel economy and pollution control in the internal combustion engine. He published many articles on the environmental, economic and political benefits of using natural gas as fuel.

Durbin was the founder and first director of the alternative fuels laboratory at the University of British Columbia in 1980-81 and was the organizer of a global conference on the use of methane as motor fuel. Durbin also served as a consultant and adviser to many industrial and U.S. government agencies and to NATO.

Among his wide range of other research activities, Durbin held a patent on a tennis racket designed to reduce elbow strain, studied new concepts in hearing aids and examined efficient conversion of salt water to fresh water.

Durbin's teaching specialty was in dynamic data analysis and instrumentation and systems analysis. He also was known as an enthusiastic supervisor of undergraduate independent work projects.

He was a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and served as vice president and director of the research division of the Instrumentation Society of America.

A resident of Princeton for 50 years, Durbin also served on the Princeton Borough Council.

Durbin was born in New York City. He earned a bachelor's degree from City College of New York and a master's degree from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

Before coming to Princeton, Durbin served as a researcher at Johns Hopkins University and taught in the graduate school at the University of Virginia. He also was a research scientist for the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics and for the North American Aviation Co.

He is survived by his wife of 57 years, Marilyn Adele Durbin; sons Jon and Paul Durbin; daughter Karen Jain; and five grandchildren.

A memorial service will be held at 6 p.m. Saturday, June 14, at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Princeton. Memorial contributions may be made to the Deborah Hospital Foundation, P.O. Box 820, Browns Mills, N.J. 08015.

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