Who is M.N. Parlar?

Prof. Dr. Mustafa N. PARLAR was born in Yayla Village of Çamlıhemşin district in Rize, Türkiye, in 1925. He earned his bachelor’s degree from the Illinois Institute of Technology in 1949, his master’s degree from Northwestern University in 1950, and his doctoral degrees from Brooklyn Polytechnic Institute in 1954. During his time in the United States, he worked as a research engineer at Brooklyn Polytechnic Institute for four years and as an assistant professor at Clarkson College of Technology for a year.

Upon returning to Türkiye, after a brief period of working at Electric Works Feasibility Administration (EIE), he became a research officer at the Scientific Advisory Board of the General Staff Headquarters. After completing his military service, he joined the Middle East Technical University (METU) and held various positions including Director of Education in 1957, Chair of the Department of Electrical Engineering in 1958, and Dean of the Faculty of Engineering from 1960 to 1970. Mustafa PARLAR was promoted to Associate Professor in 1964 and to full Professor in 1969. During the 1966-1967 academic year, he served as a guest professor at the University of California, conducting lectures and research.

In 1970, he was appointed as the Rector of METU, but he later resigned from this position. In 1969-1970, he served as a board member and president of the Turkish Chamber of Electrical Engineers. He became a member of the parliament from 1973 to 1977. In 1977, he returned to the university and served as the Founding Dean of the Faculty of Engineering Sciences at METU Icel. He also held positions such as the President of TÜBİTAK (The Scientific And Technological Research Council of Türkiye) Solar Energy Support Research Unit, President of the TÜBİTAK Türkiye Energy Commission, and Chairman of the METU Energy Coordination Committee.

Throughout his academic career, Prof. Dr. Mustafa PARLAR covered a wide range of fields and primarily focused on addressing Türkiye’s needs. He initiated research in various fields at METU, ranging from energy issues to telecommunications. Besides his administrative and academic roles, he provided consultancy services to public institutions and the United Nations Secretariat. He contributed significantly to the establishment of heavy electronics and electronics industries for the solution of industrialization problems, and the establishment of the electronic industry, promoting the collaboration between universities and industries to tackle technical problems.

He played a leading role in the successful implementation of technological transfers in the fields of electrical engineering and electronics. He made significant contributions to establish organizations for solving Türkiye ‘s energy problem.

Mustafa N. PARLAR has 25 scientific papers published domestically and internationally, one translated book, and four original books, as well as numerous technical reports and nearly 60 articles published in newspapers. He had four children.

Mustafa PARLAR didn’t subscribe to a scientific viewpoint that turned away from the developmental challenges of society and industry. Instead, he advocated for the transformative impact of scientific thought, the contribution of universities to society, and the elevation of the quality of life. He played a constructive and creative role through the laboratories he established and the researchers he nurtured, standing up for the idea that scientific thinking can bring about positive change in the environment and enhance the quality of life.

Facing difficulties that could have dulled intellect and talents, Mustafa PARLAR did not succumb to defeat; instead, his strength was tempered by these challenges. His determination to uplift his country with advanced technology, his understanding of university’s contribution to society, and his “science for life” philosophy to his students became ingrained.

In the 1950s, when the Middle East Technical University was just beginning to take shape in makeshift buildings, Mustafa PARLAR introduced a multi-faceted personality and forward-thinking ideas that established a new relationship between science and industry. As a result, he fostered a contemporary educational approach. The present-day Middle East Technical University has flourished and excelled within the framework of these concepts. The METU Prof. Dr. Mustafa N. PARLAR Education and Research Foundation was established on January 12, 1981, with the purpose of honoring Mustafa PARLAR’s memory, serving Turkish education, and conducting activities aligned with the goals he pursued throughout his life.

The anniversaries of PARLAR’s passing are commemorated as award days.

On January 19, 1982, a monument park symbolizing also all university faculty members was established at METU by the Prof. Dr. Mustafa N. PARLAR Education and Research Foundation. This marked the first time that a university erected a statue of a faculty member in Türkiye. Mustafa PARLAR will continue to be with his colleagues and students in spirit.