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Mourning the Passing of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Professor Emeritus John C. Corelli

May 10, 2017

Mourning the Passing of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Professor Emeritus John C. Corelli

He taught at Rensselaer for more than 35 years

On Monday, April 10, 2017, John C. Corelli, professor emeritus of nuclear engineering and engineering physics at Rensselaer, passed away.
Dr. Corelli was born in 1930 in Providence, Rhode Island. He received his bachelor’s degree from Providence College in 1952, his master’s degree from Brown University in 1954, and his Ph.D. in physics from Purdue University in 1958. From 1958 to 1962 he worked at Knolls Atomic Power Laboratory in Schenectady, New York, as a physicist performing research in solid state physics and metallurgy with an emphasis on radiation damage studies on semiconducting compounds of thermoelectric materials.
Dr. Corelli became an adjunct professor at Rensselaer in 1961 and was named an associate professor of nuclear engineering and science in 1962. In 1965 he was promoted to the rank of professor. He spent the next 35 years at Rensselaer as a professor in various engineering disciplines including thermodynamics, nuclear physics, radiation damage in materials, and semiconductor physics, among others. In 1976, he was named chairman of the nuclear engineering curriculum.

His research interests included the effects of radiation on biological cell systems, radiation-enhanced corrosion and stress corrosion, radiation effects in silicon, neutron radiation damage in ceramic materials for nuclear fusion reactors, and radiation and safety aspects of nuclear power reactors.

He was the author of numerous scientific papers, a member of several scientific and professional societies, and a consultant to such companies as General Electric, Radiation Dynamics, and Westinghouse. In retirement, he was a volunteer for the North Bethlehem Fire Department and for many years he enjoyed portraying Santa Claus at a local mall.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to Dr. John Corelli’s family and friends at this time of loss.


Reeve Hamilton
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Founded in 1824, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute is America’s first technological research university. Rensselaer encompasses five schools, 32 research centers, more than 145 academic programs, and a dynamic community made up of more than 7,600 students and more than 100,000 living alumni. Rensselaer faculty and alumni include more than 145 National Academy members, six members of the National Inventors Hall of Fame, six National Medal of Technology winners, five National Medal of Science winners, and a Nobel Prize winner in Physics. With nearly 200 years of experience advancing scientific and technological knowledge, Rensselaer remains focused on addressing global challenges with a spirit of ingenuity and collaboration.