Harry C. Gatoswas born in Greece in 1921. He received his diploma from the University of Athens in 1943 and came to the United States in 1946. He received his M.A. degree from Indiana University in 1948 and Ph.D. degree in inorganic chemistry from MIT in 1950.
Harry Gatos was associated with MIT since the summer of 1948, first as a research assistant in the Department of Metallurgy (graduate student in Department of Chemistry) and then as research associate in the same department. He worked 3 years as research engineer for Du Pont Company. Then he joined the Research Staff at MIT's Lincoln Laboratory and subsequently became the Leader of the Electronic Materials Group, Associate Head and Head of the Solid State Division. In 1962, he was appointed Professor of the Department of Materials Science and the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. The same year he founded the first integrated electronic materials group in an academic institution. It studied relationships in electronic materials and the development of new electronic materials including semiconductors, superconductors, and optical materials.
Professor Gatos pursued research in electrodeposition, metallic corrosion, superconductors, high pressure phase transformations, semiconductors (crystalline and amorphous) and materials processing in space. He published about 350 technical papers, including several patents. He authored and edited several books; he founded the journal Surface Science and was its Editor-in-Chief from 1964 to 1992.
Dr. Gatos was very active in The Electrochemical Society. He served as Boston Section Vice-Chairman (1958-59) and Chairman (1959-60). He was Corrosion Division Vice-Chairman (1961-62) and Chairman (1962-64). He was Secretary of the Council of Sections (1961-62) and Chairman (1962-63). He served as Corrosion Division Editor of the Journal. He organized many symposia for Society meetings including two International Symposia on Metal and Semiconductor Surfaces. Professor Gatos was elected Vice-President of the Society in 1964 and President in 1967.
Dr. Gatos received two major Electrochemical Society awards: the Solid State Science and Technology Award in 1975 and the Edward Goodrich Acheson Medal and Prize in 1982. He was elected Honorary Member of the Society in 1978.
Professor Gatos co-founded the Materials Research Society and was its first President (1973-75). He is a Fellow of American Association of the Advancement of Science. He received NASA's Award for Exceptional Scientific Achievement (1975), Gold Cross of Order of Merit of Polish Republic (1980), and honorary D. S. degree from Indiana University (1983). He was the first recipient of the Harry C. Gatos Distinguished Lecture and Prize (1991). In 1992 he received the International Gallium Arsenide and Related Compounds Award and the Heinrich Welker Gold Medal. He is a member of the National Academy of Engineering, a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and a correspondent member of the Academy of Athens.