Phase one of BMEC renovation named to honor Mars Fontana

Posted: September 26, 2019

Originally posted by the College of Engineering on September 22, 2019.

With recent approval from The Ohio State University Board of Trustees, College of Engineering leadership has named Phase I of the Biomedical and Materials Engineering Complex the Mars G. Fontana Laboratories to honor metallurgical engineering’s tradition and impact at Ohio State.

image of construction of Mars G. Fontana Laboratory at Ohio State September 22, 2019.
View of BMEC from W. 19th Ave. The "Metallurgical Engineering" doorway facade from the original building will remain.
On schedule to open in summer 2020, the $59.1 million, 124,000 square ft. Biomedical and Materials Engineering Complex (BMEC) will be home to the Departments of Biomedical Engineering and Materials Science and Engineering. BMEC will showcase the exceptional teaching and research happening in the heart of The Ohio State University’s Columbus campus, while inspiring life-saving, unprecedented advances in the rapidly growing field of biomaterials.

Widely regarded as the father of modern corrosion engineering, Mars Fontana (1910-1988) was one of the world's pioneers in research establishing basic scientific knowledge of the phenomenon of corrosion and its applications in engineering. In addition to his noteworthy technical achievements—including election to the National Academy of Engineering in 1967—Fontana was an outstanding administrator and stimulating teacher.

In 1945 he was named a professor of metallurgical engineering at Ohio State, and in 1948 became department chairman and director of the Corrosion Center, the nation’s largest university effort in corrosion research. He was named a regents professor in 1967 and chairman emeritus in 1975. His efforts at Ohio State ushered in a period of great growth and progress for metallurgical engineering.

photo of Mars G. Fontana
Mars G. Fontana
Fontana was particularly effective in bringing about the building of new laboratories, and recruiting and developing outstanding young faculty members. During his tenure, $3 million worth of new facilities for metallurgical engineering were constructed, and research under contract grew to $1 million a year.

College of Engineering Dean David B. Williams said naming the renovated buildings, including one in which Fontana taught and innovated, is a perfect tribute to the engineering icon.

“This reimagined space will prepare Buckeye engineers to think creatively, problem solve and identify opportunities in ways that increase productivity, tackle global challenges and revolutionize products, services and systems like never before.”

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