Professor James Barany passed away earlier this week. A lot of people probably won’t know Prof. Barany, but if you passed through the Industrial Engineering School at Purdue University you did.
Professor Barany has been at Purdue since 1956 when he entered the graduate program. Once he graduated he stayed on as part of the faculty and has been there ever since. He influenced me as an undergraduate student as well as many others, including some of my mentors. He wasn’t just recognized by Purdue. Prof. Barany was internationally know.
As a researcher, Dr. Barany gained international recognition for his studies of hemiplegic gait using a force platform of his original design, fabrication, and validation.
Everyone knew him at Purdue and he told great stories. He never was shy about how he felt and was never politically correct. he just told you straight. I can remember as a senior thinking I was going to take a couple of easy engineering electives to make my last semester easy. I wanted to take Computers 100 which was an intro to computers. This is a mouse. This is the internet. Click here. Easy stuff. Prof. Barany looked me straight in the eye and said, “Think again, son. You are too smart and if you want to be successful you need to challenge yourself. No skating.”
That was that. I ended up taking an advanced human factors course instead. I will never forget the conversation.
Professor Barany was a great man that influenced all Industrial Engineers at Purdue since the 1950s.
It was a sad day at Purdue. Thanks for everything Professor Barany.