Colleagues say Luss always has been driven. Born in Tel Aviv, Israel, he earned bachelor's and master's degrees at Technion, the Israel Institute of Technology, in the early 1960s. He earned a Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota and became an assistant professor there in 1966. He joined UH as an assistant professor in 1967.
"He was hired as a young gun, one of the top candidates that year for academic hires," said UH professor Michael Harold. "He came from Minnesota with much acclaim, and he got started quickly."
Luss was promoted to full professor in five years about half the amount of time it usually takes.
He first served as chairman from 1975 to 1995 and from 1999 to 2000. He has instructed countless courses and completely or jointly supervised nearly 75 Ph.D. and master's theses.
Harold and UH professor Vemuri Balakotaiah were Ph.D. students under Luss' direction in the early 1980s.
Harold, who was hired back to UH in 2000 as department chair and served until last year, said Luss opened many doors for him. "As an adviser, he really brought me to the next level and invested in me. That, in turn, boosted my confidence, and I knew that I could compete with anyone in this field. When you say you're a student of Dr. Luss, that turns heads, so to speak. For that, I'm very grateful."
In fact, it was Luss who influenced Harold's decision to pursue a career in academia. "I saw the impact that you can have as a professor, from a research and teaching standpoint," Harold said.
These days, Luss typically teaches one course per semester. One in particular, which covers reaction engineering, has been on his calendar since his days as an assistant professor,
|Contact: Angela Hopp|
University of Houston