ECS President | 1970-1971
Charles William Tobias was born in Budapest, Hungary on November 2, 1920. Following high school and graduation from the Municipal Conservatory of Music, he received his Chemical Engineer’s diploma from the University of Technical Sciences (Muegyetem) in Budapest. After one year of military service with the Army Engineers, he was employed by the radio tube division of United Incandescent Lamp and Electrical Co., Ltd., between 1942-1947. He held a Demonstrator’s appointment in the Institute of Physical Chemistry under Professor Naray-Szabo during 1945-1946.
After obtaining a doctoral degree from The University of Technical Sciences (Physical Chemistry) in 1946, he came to the United States in 1947 on a fellowship appointment. From July 1947 until his death on March 6, 1996, Dr. Tobias was a member of the faculty of the University of California-Berkeley. He was appointed to full Professor in 1960. While on leave during the year 1958-1959, he was a Professor in the Miller Institute for Basic Research. In 1955 he became a member of the staff of the Lawrence Radiation Laboratory and in 1962 affiliated with its Inorganic Materials Research Division.
Dr. Tobias’ early research interest in electrodeposition and electrophoresis were broadened to the general area of scale dependent processes associated with electrode systems. He and his co-workers publications were concerned primarily with ionic transport by diffusion, migration, and convection, exact solutions of potential and current distribution problems, conductance in heterogeneous media, quantitative description of processes in porous electrodes, electrochemical properties of certain nonaqueous solvents including carbonate esters and liquid ammonia. Dr. Tobias taught undergraduate courses in Thermodynamics and Unit Operations and he developed a graduate course treating the design and scale up of electrochemical processes.
Dr. Tobias joined The Electrochemical Society in 1948, a year in which he assisted in founding the San Francisco Section. He served as Vice-Chair and Chair of the Section, 1953-56. He was on the Executive Committee, Vice-Chair and Chair of the Theoretical Division, 1955-61. He served on most of the standing committees of the Society. He was elected Vice-President of the Society in 1967 and President in 1970.
Dr. Tobias served as Theoretical Division Editor. He was co-editor of the “Advances in Electrochemistry and Electrochemical Engineering” series first with Paul Delahay and later with Heinz Gerischer. He organized many Society Meeting symposia and was keynote speaker on several occasions.
Dr. Tobias received two major awards of the Society: the Edward Goodrich Acheson Medal and Prize in 1972 and the Vittorio de Nora Award in 1990. He was made an Honorary Member in 1977 and elected Fellow of the Society in 1991. Dr. Tobias died on March 3, 1996.