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UH Engineering Professor Michael Economides Dies

A University of Houston chemical engineering professor who became known around the world for his work on the oil-and-gas extraction method commonly called ‘fracking’ has died.


Michael Economides suffered a heart attack Saturday while on a flight from Spain to Chile.

“His expertise in bringing rigorous science and engineering to a technology and applications in his field that was very rapidly evolving will certainly be missed,” said Ramanan Krishnamoorti, the chief energy officer at UH. 

Krishnamoorti says Economides was a mentor to him. He remembers Economides as someone who was fearless about saying exactly what was on his mind.  But Krishnamoorti says Economides was also one of those rare people in academia who could bring seriousness and levity to the table at the same time.

“That made discussing even very, very difficult topics much more easy. There were no punches pulled.  But, at the same time, you could walk out and go have a beer with him. You could agree to disagree, and there were no hard feelings.”

Krishnamoorti also credits Economides and his wife, Christine, for bringing petroleum engineering to new heights at the University of Houston.

In addition to his wife, Economides is survived by two grown sons. He was 64.

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