Emeritus professor and former dean inducted into National Mining Hall of Fame

October 26, 2015

Frank Aplan, distinguished professor emeritus of metallurgy and mineral processing, and Edward Steidle, dean of the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences (EMS) from 1928 to 1953, were inducted into the National Mining Hall of Fame on Oct. 23, during a ceremony held at the Omni William Penn Hotel in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. They were among five new members inducted this year, bringing the total number of inductees to 232. Aplan and Steidle join four other Penn State mining engineering faculty in the Hall of Fame: George Deike Sr., Howard Hartman, David Mitchell and John T. Ryan Sr.

Howard "Chip" Steidle Jr., grandson of Edward Steidle (former dean of the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences), speaks on behalf of his father at the National Mining Hall of Fame induction ceremony.

Howard "Chip" Steidle Jr., grandson of Edward Steidle (former dean of the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences), speaks on behalf of his father at the National Mining Hall of Fame induction ceremony.

IMAGE: Penn State

"The Department is very proud to have Dr. Aplan, the latest Penn State Mineral Engineering faculty to be inducted into the 2015 Mining Hall of Fame class, as being among the most influential mineral processing leaders in industry and academia. Another member of this 2015 exclusive class is Dean Edward Steidle, a Penn State mining engineer and former dean, who was being bestowed this distinct honor for his vision to bring under one roof all of the sciences and technologies needed to discover, extract, process, utilize and conserve the mineral wealth for the benefit of mankind," said Turgay Ertekin, professor and head of the John and Willie Leone Family Department of Energy and Mineral Engineering, and George E. Trimble Chair in Earth and Mineral Sciences.

Considered to be a leader in mineral processing, Aplan researched the processes involved in the preparation of coal and ores. The author of more than 150 publications in peer-reviewed journals, Aplan is a Fellow of the National Academy of Engineering. In 1989, the United Engineering Foundation created the Frank F. Aplan Award in his name “to recognize engineering and scientific contributions that further the understanding of the processing of minerals.”

Aplan has served on the mining engineering faculty at Penn State since 1968. Prior to this, he worked as a research engineer and research manager for multiple mines in South Dakota and Colorado. He received a bachelor of science from the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology in 1948, a master of science in mining engineering from the Montana School of Mines in 1950 and a doctorate from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in 1957.

Steidle helped shape mineral education by encouraging and facilitating collaboration among earth-related disciplines. After receiving his bachelor of science and master of science degrees in mining engineering from Penn State, he worked for the U.S. Bureau of Mines, rising from assistant to chief mining engineer. He then joined the Carnegie Institute of Technology as an associate professor and was named dean of Penn State’s School of Mining and Metallurgy (the predecessor of EMS) in 1928.

As dean, Steidle brought together disciplines in earth sciences, mineral engineering and mineral processing to promote an interdisciplinary approach to studying minerals. Under his leadership, the college added programs in petroleum and natural gas engineering, fuel science, mineral economics, geography and meteorology. He also emphasized the importance of liberal arts and culture in education, and began the Steidle Collection of artwork, which depicts Pennsylvania’s mineral industries during the first half of the 20th century and is one of the permanent collections of the EMS Museum and Art Gallery.

In 1957, President Dwight Eisenhower appointed Steidle chair of the Federal Coal Mine Safety Board. In 1978, the Mineral Industries Building on Penn State’s University Park campus was renamed to the Steidle Building.

About the National Mining Hall of Fame:

The National Mining Hall of Fame is a memorial for men and women who achieved lasting greatness in the mining and natural resource environment. Usually a candidate must be retired for at least five years and have made significant contributions to the American mining scene. Consideration is given to prospectors, miners, mining leaders, engineers, teachers, financiers, inventors, journalists, rascals, geologists and others. Their engraved photographs and biographies are placed in the National Mining Hall of Fame and Museum.

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Last Updated October 28, 2015