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Dr. Raymond Friedman (1922 – 2014)

A Lifetime in Science



Impressive in his work, inspiring to others and dedicated to his profession, Dr. Ray Friedman leaves a legacy of devotion to fire research.

With a background as a research chemist, Dr. Friedman held positions in research and management at Westinghouse Research Laboratories, Atlantic Research Corporation (ARC) and Factory Mutual Research Corporation (FMRC). As vice president and general manager of the research division of ARC, he directed fundamental studies on various kinetics and combustion problems, particularly in solid propellants combustion, flame extinguishment, flame structure and ionized combustion gases.

In 1969, he joined FMRC as scientific director and manager of the basic research department. In 1975, he became vice president and manager of the research division (now part of Factory Mutual Insurance Company [FM Global]), a position from which he retired in 1987. He was, at the time, an internationally known scientist prominent in the Combustion Institute and other professional associations. His presence brought renown to FMRC as a leading institution for research on combustion and fires. Soon after he arrived, his reputation was the determining factor in drawing the famous combustion scientist Dr. George H. Markstein to join FMRC to work with him.

Ray devoted much time to the training of young scientists, and his inquisitive and inventive mind was instrumental in driving many of the early advances in the understanding of fire phenomena. While at FMRC, Ray wrote many papers reviewing the state of the art in the field of fire research, which were intended to guide further research. But, by far his most significant contribution was that of enhancing FMRC’s scientific reputation and creating an environment that inspired other scientific researchers. His leadership established the foundation of an enduring legacy that is still felt at FM Global.

He devoted much effort to the formation of the International Association for Fire Safety Science, and he received many professional and academic honors. They included positions of leadership with the Combustion Institute (president, 1978-82), the American Chemical Society’s Division of Fuel Chemistry (chairman, 1964), the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the National Academy of Science (NAS). Ray was also a member of the Cosmos Club.

Known for his keen wit and analytical mind, Ray enjoyed classical music at the Society of the Four Arts in Palm Beach and at Tanglewood in the Berkshires. The eclectic nature of Ray’s intellect is reflected in the wide range of his publications. He is the author of the definitive text on fire prevention, Principles of Fire Protection Chemistry and Physics, and several other publications. Ray leaves his adored best friend and wife of 68 years, Myra. He is missed by those who had the privilege to know him and work with him.

Franco Tamanini, FM Global

Prof. Toshisuke Hirano (1939-2014)

hiranoWe are surrounded by sorrow and sadness by the news that Prof. Hirano’s passed away during the week of the 11th IAFSS conference in Christchurch.  A message was given at the last day of the conference by the new IAFSS chair Prof. van Hees.  It will be difficult to think about the world around us and about our fire safety community without Prof. Hirano being its member.

 Prof. Hirano was a gentleman, a scholar, a colleague, a mentor and a pre-eminent leader in fire safety research.  He was one of the founding fathers of the International Association for Fire Safety Science, and for 18 years served as the Association Secretary, Vice-Chairman and the Chairman.  He was the local organiser for the 2nd Symposium and acted as program chair for the 5th and 6th Symposia.  Through his work, he has defined who we are as the fire safety community.  He mentored our past chair Prof. Dlugogorski when he took his first steps as a fire safety researcher in Australia.

 His passing away is a great loss to everyone.  As a scientist, he has made important contributions to the archival literature on fires and explosions, including seminal papers on flame spread.  But his contributions are too many to mention.  He has authored papers in almost every area of fire research.

 In the Asia-Oceania region, he was the one who brought together fire researchers from Australia, China, Japan and Russia to establish the Asia-Oceania Association for Fire Science and Technology.  We all own him a great deal of gratitude for everything he has done for improving fire safety in our region.

 With this message we would like to pass our condolences to Prof. Hirano’s family, and to all our colleagues in Japan and around the world.

 Prof. Hirano will remain in our memories and in our thoughts. An obituary will follow on this website.


Prof. B. Dlugogorski                                                 Prof. P. van Hees

Immediate Past Chairman of IAFSS                  Chairman of IAFSS


Fire Safety Science News #36 – February, 2014

The February, 2014 edition of Fire Safety Science News, the official newsletter of the IAFSS is now available online. The latest issue is dedicated to Professor Philip Thomas, one of the founders of IAFSS. Three invited authors write featured articles on the TB117 flammability test of upholstered furniture in California another featured article on the role of creativity and technical knowledge in the design and engineering of fire safety in buildings and many other contributed pieces with fire safety science news from around the world.

Fire Safety Science News #36 – February, 2014 by IAFSS

Click here to directly download a PDF of #36 – Fire Safety Science News

IAFSS Committee Meeting Minutes and Agendas

In preparation for the full IAFSS Committee meeting this Thursday in Christchurch, the IAFSS Secretary has shared the following minutes and agenda to the membership:

Minutes of General Business Meeting of the IAFSS at the University of Maryland on June 23, 2011

Agenda for the General Business Meeting of the IAFSS on Thursday in Christchurch

Agenda for the Full Committee meeting of the IAFSS on Thursday in Christchurch

For questions on the minutes or agendas, please contact the IAFSS Secretary, [email protected]

Follow the IAFSS on Twitter, Facebook and Linked In!

Updates from the 11th IAFSS Symposium will be shared throughout the web, featured on this website, our new Facebook Group, Twitter Feed and also on our existing LinkedIn Group. Use Hashtag #11IAFSS.




Fire Science Image Competition Submissions

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11th Symposium Meeting Information

Agendas for various meetings of the IAFSS Committee to be held in Christchurch are available below with all details bar the dial-in telephone details and room information.

Meeting agendas are available for:

The Full Committee of the IAFSS on Sunday

The Full Committee of the IAFSS on Thursday

The General Business Meeting of the IAFSS on Thursday

For more information on the meetings or agendas, please contact the IAFSS Secretary, Margaret Simonson McNamee.

Obituary: Professor Philip Thomas


It is with the great sadness we announce the sudden death of Professor Philip Thomas. Philip along with Professor Kawagoe was the founding father of the IAFSS and he was dearly cherished by those of us who knew and worked with him. 

Dr. Thomas worked in fire safety research at the Fire Research Station (subsequently part of the Building Research Establishment) for over thirty years, from the early 1950s to the mid 1980s. In that time he published numerous Fire Research Notes and over one hundred journal papers on fire phenomena, many of which are still regularly cited today. Since retiring from the Fire Research Station in 1986 he has remained active in fire research and continues to publish in Fire Safety Journal and elsewhere. The importance of his contributions to the field cannot be overstated. It was once said that he worked on almost every problem related to fire from spontaneous ignition, to wildland fires and from statistical analyses to fire modelling. He was chair of TC 92 in ISO and convenor of W14 for the CIB. He was the founding Chair of IAFSS and the Philip Thomas Medal of Excellence is named in his honor. He worked at a time when journal publications were not so numerous, but his writing mostly contained in Fire Research Notes show his prolific nature and his boundless interests. The new researcher to fire would be lacking not to have read the works of P H Thomas.

 An obituary by Prof. Geoffrey Cox is available for download

An obituary in the Telegraph is available here

Those of you who would like to send their condolences to Joanna, his wife, can do so via this email address. A private family funeral will take place this week Friday 24th January.  A Memorial Celebration will be held on the 1st March in Somerset. Colleagues are welcome. More information is available here


Below, Prof. James Quintiere has shared some memories and words of conciliation with the community.

January 14, 2014
To Joanna, and the Children and Family of Phil Thomas,
As words are a small expression of sadness, I write these to give some solace.  However, it is the loss of Phil that is difficult to bear.  Those that had a chance to know him in the field of fire research can only view his passing as a loss of continuity to the field.  Those that never met him, missed a lot.  To me he was a mentor, a colleague, and a friend to enjoy.  A fire meeting was not the same without Phil.  The first time we engaged was in the wee-hours of the morning on the lawn at Penn State in 1972 attending a combustion conference.  I listened to him and John deRis tour the issues of fire research.  I have to say that discussion was in many ways my hallmark to the field.  It displayed a humanity and soul to fire research that always accompanied time with Phil.  Memories can only speak for themselves:  After a tour of his old haunts in Tokyo, Phil called to say if I was ok, I said I’ll be down for breakfast shortly, he said it was lunch;  Along with Geoff Cox we toasted Bernie McCaffrey as he faded from us;  At international standards meetings Phil displayed compassionate diplomacy and a guiding hand;  At a Paris café we discussed the formation of IAFSS, but Phil was quick to remember Brooke Shields sitting at the next table;  and most of all it was the friendship and hospitality he bestowed on all who came to visit.  
It was remarked that Phil touched every problem in fire research before anyone else.  For those that read the past literature, they will find this to be very true.  His work was perfuse, analytical and insightful.  When you got to the end, you had a tangible equation as his answer, and he showed why it emerged.  He spread his view of fire broadly, as I believe he viewed life.  Phil was intellectually curious and concerned about truth and knowledge.  He educated me in more than fire research.
Several weeks ago, John deRis was visiting and we had occasion to reminisce into the wee hours of the morning.  The next day we telephoned Phil.  That call expressed our fondness, and longing for the memories with Phil. Those memories will be carried on.
Jim Quintiere

Professor Emeritus

University of Maryland, College Park