John N. Murphy passed on June 13, 2023. He was the executive director of the McGowan Institute and a research professor in the Department of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering at the University of Pittsburgh (Pitt). Prior to joining Pitt, Murphy served as the Research Director of the U.S. Bureau of Mines’ Pittsburgh Research Center (PRC) from 1978 until 1997. The PRC is now a branch of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.
In addition to his academic achievements, Murphy was a kind man who donated much of his time to the many societies and associations with which he was affiliated. He was very active in Society for Mining, Metallurgy and Exploration (SME), the SME Foundation and the Pittsburgh section of SME, always advocating for continuing education. He also served as the chairman of Coal Age’s Longwall USA executive committee. Murphy also supported the Boy Scouts of America and was instrumental in developing the merit badge for mining.
SME presented Murphy with the AIME Erskine Ramsay Medal in 2016 for his unselfish, tireless contributions to the coal industry, safety and health research, public outreach, professional development, mentoring, and, of course, the society.
He served as the 2011 president SME, and is also the past president of the SME Foundation, director and past chairman of the Pittsburgh Section of SME, past president of the National Mine Rescue Association, member and past president of the Mine Rescue Veterans of Pittsburgh District, senior member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, member of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers, and member of the Mining and Metallurgy Society of America.
A registered professional engineer, Murphy held an undergraduate degree from Pitt and a master’s degree from Duquesne University. During his tenure at the PRC, he served in various technical and supervisory positions. He held two patents and authored more than 90 technical publications. He received the Department of Interior Distinguished Service Award in 1985, the Presidential Rank Award for Meritorious Executive in 1986, and the Presidential Award for Distinguished Executive in 1993.