George N. Hatsopoulos

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George N. Hatsopoulos
Hatsopoulos in 2011
Born(1927-01-07)January 7, 1927
Athens, Greece
DiedSeptember 20, 2018(2018-09-20) (aged 91)
AwardsJohn Fritz Medal (1996)
Scientific career
FieldsMechanical engineering
InstitutionsMassachusetts Institute of Technology

George Nicholas Hatsopoulos (January 7, 1927 – September 20, 2018) was a Greek American mechanical engineer noted for his work in thermodynamics and for having founded Thermo Electron.

Early life[edit]

Hatsopoulos was born in Athens, Greece in 1927[1] and is related to[how?] the former rector of the Athens Polytechnic School, Nicolas Kitsikis. He attended Athens Polytechnic before entering MIT, where he received his Bachelor and Master of Science (1950), Mechanical Engineer (1954), and Doctorate of Science (1956).[2]

Hatsopoulos-Keenan reformulation of thermodynamics[edit]

In 1965, he and Joseph Keenan published their textbook Principles of General Thermodynamics, which restates the second law of thermodynamics in terms of the existence of stable equilibrium states.[3] Their formulation of the second law of thermodynamics states that:

When an isolated system performs a process after the removal of a series of internal constraints, it will reach a unique state of equilibrium: this state of equilibrium is independent of the order in which the constraints are removed.

The Hatsopoulos-Keenan statement of the Second Law entails the Clausius, Kelvin-Planck, and Carathéodory statements of the Second Law,[4] and has provided a basis to extend the traditional definition of entropy to the non-equilibrium domain.

In 1976, Hatsopoulos also contributed to a formulation of a unified theory of mechanics and thermodynamics, arguably a precursor of the emerging field of quantum thermodynamics.[5]

Academic and industry leader[edit]

While at MIT, Hatsopoulos was head of the engineering division of Matrad Corporation of New York.[2] Matrad Corporation and MIT also provided financial support for his doctoral thesis The Thermo-Electron Engine.[6] Matrad Corporation was owned by the family of Peter M. Nomikos, a Harvard Business School graduate. In 1956, Hatsopoulos founded the Thermo Electron Corporation with funding from Peter Nomikos. Several years later, George asked his brother (John Hatsopoulos) to join the company as financial controller.[7] Under George Hatsopoulos, Thermo Electron became a major provider of analytical instruments and services for a variety of domains. John Hatsopoulos, and Arvin Smith.[8] In 1965, George Hatsopoulos was president of the Thermo Electron Engineering Corporation and Senior Lecturer in Mechanical Engineering at M.I.T.


In 1961, Hatsopoulos received the Golden Plate Award of the American Academy of Achievement.[9] In 1996, Hatsopoulos won the John Fritz Medal, which is the highest American award in the engineering profession and presented each year for scientific or industrial achievement in any field of pure or applied science. In 1997, he was awarded the 3rd Annual Heinz Award in Technology, the Economy and Employment.[10]

In 2011, along with Arvin Smith and John Hatsopoulos, he was awarded the 2011 Pittcon Heritage Award from the Chemical Heritage Foundation.[11]

Hatsopoulos is also a recipient of The International Center in New York's Award of Excellence.[citation needed]

He died on September 20, 2018, at the age of 91.[12] His net worth was reported as US$481 million in 2017.[13]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Who, Marquis Who's (1999). Who's who in Finance and Industry. ISBN 9780837903347.
  2. ^ a b MIT. (1956) Appointments To Administrative Positions And Four Faculty Changes Announced. The Tech. LXXVI No. 15, 3
  3. ^ Hatsopoulos, George, N.; Keenan, Joseph, H. (1965). Principles of General Thermodynamics. John Wiley & Sons, Inc. CCN 65-12709.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  4. ^ Gyftopoulos, Elias, P.; Beretta, Gian Paolo (2005). Thermodynamics. Foundations and Applications. Dover Pu., Inc. ISBN 0-486-43932-1.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  5. ^ See, e.g., Archived 2010-05-29 at the Wayback Machine
  6. ^ Hatsopoulos, George Nicholas. (1956). The Thermo-Electron Engine. Doctoral dissertation, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA.
  7. ^ It Don't Mean a Thing If You Ain't Got that Green: HBS and the Birth of Venture Capital. HBS Bulletin Online, December 1996.
  8. ^ "George and John Hatsopoulos, and Arvin Smith". Chemical Heritage Foundation. Archived from the original on July 12, 2016. Retrieved 26 June 2013.
  9. ^ "Golden Plate Awardees of the American Academy of Achievement". American Academy of Achievement.
  10. ^ The Heinz Awards, George Hatsopoulos profile
  11. ^ "Pittcon Heritage Award". Science History Institute. 31 May 2016. Retrieved 27 March 2018.
  12. ^ George Hatsopoulos Obituary
  13. ^ "National Herald - 50 wealthiest Greek-Americans for 2017".

External links[edit]