José Antonio González, 83, died May 31, 2021 in Madrid, Spain. He was an esteemed Professor in corrosion science and engineering at the National Center for Metallurgical Research (CENIM-CSIC) for 45 years. José Antonio was pivotal in developing electrochemical methods for the study of corrosion of steel in concrete, and his continuous dedication and passion for research was undeniable. A generous mentor, José Antonio helped countless students become scientists, researchers, and engineers from all around the globe.
His pioneering research work has had a truly global impact and was supported by national and international bodies, research councils, and industry. Among José Antonio’s achievements—and that which he was most proud of—was his dedication and passion for mentoring young researchers, including M.Sc. and Ph.D. students and postdoctoral research fellows. A gracious advisor and mentor, he provided opportunities for many to expand their knowledge in corrosion of steel in concrete through visiting CENIM-CSIC, while supporting others in their academic endeavors. He was an excellent researcher and an even better person, very generous with his colleagues and all he engaged with. There are many unique memories and moments that will remain in our heart forever and these are expressed in the many deeply moving messages of condolence received by his family.
José Antonio was born in July 1937 in Madrid, amid the Civil War in Spain. He graduated with a 1st class honors degree in Chemical Engineering in 1967 at the Complutense University of Madrid. He decided to enroll in graduate school under the supervision of Sebastián Feliú, who introduced him to corrosion science and engineering, with a research focus on corrosion of steel in concrete. Later, José Antonio became a well-respected authority worldwide owing to his continuous dedication and unexhaustive efforts in translating fundamental research into the applied world. In this regard, one of his most important contributions was the application of the polarization resistance method to assess the corrosion of steel reinforcement in concrete and the development of the guard ring counter electrode to enable confinement of the electric field signal for application to on-site corrosion monitoring. This led to the development—for the first time—of a corrosion rate meter in collaboration between CENIM, IETcc, and Geocisa.
José Antonio was distinguished with NACE International’s Frank Newman Speller Award in 2007 for this valuable contribution to corrosion monitoring, diagnosis, and prevention of reinforced concrete structures. His award lecture, “Prediction of Reinforced Concrete Structure Durability by Electrochemical Techniques,” was published in Corrosion 63, 9 (2007): p. 811-818. This year his mentee, José María Bastidas, was also recognized with the Speller Award. The legacy of José Antonio remains strong, both in his influence on the corrosion community, but also very importantly in his teachings allowing assessment of our built infrastructure.
José Antonio will be sadly missed by his friends, colleagues, and collaborators all around the world. Our sincerest condolences to his wife Mari Luz, son José Severo, and daughters Paloma, Mari Nieves, and Susana.