1938 - 2007 

University of Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa


Silvana Bartolucci Luyckx was born on September 5, 1938, in Zara, Italy. She grew up in Somalia and completed her first degree in Milan, Italy, and started her Ph.D. in 1963 under the supervision of the late Professor Nabarro. Her research concerned the fracture of WC-Co, that is, cemented carbides. Such materials became the focus of her work until her death. She had also been investigating the effects of additions of South African primary resources, such as vanadium and ruthenium, to cemented carbides, which subsequently led to the development of new materials. Her contributions to the field of hardmetals, which she fondly referred to as her hobby, were recognized by the international hardmetals industry through her many invited papers and contributions at conferences around the world as well as her presence on advisory boards of international conferences and journals.

During her time at Wits (The University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg) where she came to do a Ph.D. in hard materials, she worked in the Physics Department, the Schonland Centre for Nuclear Sciences and the Department of Metallurgy. She was a Visiting Professor in the School of Chemical and Metallurgical Engineering long after she retired. She supervised and mentored many postgraduate students during her time at Wits and in the Centre of Excellence for Strong Materials. Her mentoring, mothering, and successful positioning of students, particularly those disadvantaged, in outside industries is to be praised. She was a Committee member of Italo-South African Culture Center, a Member of Powder Metallurgy Association of South Africa (honorary life. member chairman 1995, chairman 1995-1996), South African Institute of Physics, South African Institute of Tribology. Prof. Silvana Luyckx passed away on November 5, 2007.