Theodore Richard Beckwas born in Seattle, Washington on April 11, 1926. He received his B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. degrees in 1949, 1950, and 1952, respectively at the University of Washington, Seattle.
He joined Jackson Laboratories of the du Pont Company at Deepwater, New Jersey as a research engineer in process development in 1952. He conducted pilot plant studies on manufacture of isocyanates. In 1954 he became group leader of the 10,000A experimental aluminum cell program with Kaiser Aluminum and Chemical Corporation in Permanente, California. In 1959 he joined the American Potash and Chemical Corporation at Henderson, Nevada as head of the Electrochemical Research Section. He joined the Boeing Company as research specialist in the Aerospace Division in 1961 with responsibility for research in batteries and fuel cells. Transferring to the Boeing Scientific Research Laboratories in 1965, his research included mechanisms of stress corrosion cracking of metals and streaming current phenomena. In 1972, he became a member of Flow Research, Inc. He did research on pitting, stress corrosion and double layers, development of electrochemical processes and devices, and consulting. He continued contract research and development in his own company, Electrochemical Technology Corp., from 1975 until 1996 when he closed his laboratory and went into semi retirement. He authored 77 technical papers and received 11 patents.
Dr. Beck joined The Electrochemical Society in 1954 and was active in Local Section, Division, and Society affairs. He was Vice-Chairman of the San Francisco Section in 1958, Chairman of the Pacific Northwest Section from 1964 to 1966 and Councilor to that Section. He served as Secretary, Vice-Chairman, and Chairman of the Council of Sections from 1966 to 1969. He served the Industrial Electrolytic Division as Secretary, Vice-Chairman, and Chairman from 1964 to 1970. He organized a symposia on "Mass Transport in Electrochemical Processes" for the Toronto Meeting in 1964 and "Electrochemical Contributions to Environmental Protection" for the Houston Meeting in 1972. He was appointed a Corrosion Division Editor from 1971 to 1975.
Dr. Beck was elected Society Vice-President in 1972 and President in 1975. He received the Outstanding Achievement Award of the Corrosion Division in 1981. He became an Honorary Member of the Society in 1982, and was elected to Fellow of The Electrochemical Society in 1991. He received the Edward Goodrich Acheson Award in 1990.
Dr. Beck was active in other societies, having served as Chairman of the Southern Nevada Section of AIChE; and as Treasurer, Secretary, and Chairman of the Puget Sound Section of ACS. He is a Fellow of the AIChE. He was a member of AAAS, ISE, Sigma XI, NACE, AIC, a registered professional engineer in the State of Washington. Nontechnical activities included serving on the boards of the Northern Cascades Conservation Council, Seattle Youth Symphony, the Icelandic Club of Greater Seattle and the Advisory Board for the University of Washington Scandinavian Department.