Kurt Frankel, Assistant Professor, Dies at 33

Kurt Frankel, assistant professor in Georgia Tech’s School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, died this past weekend. He was 33.

Kurt Frankel
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Kurt Frankel was an assistant professor in Georgia Tech’s School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences.

Frankel was killed while riding his bicycle along the shoulder of U.S. 98 in South Walton county Florida early Saturday morning. News reports state that he was struck from behind by an automobile. Reports say that he was wearing a helmet at the time.

“We will miss Kurt, deeply,” said Judith Curry, chair of the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences. “He was a talented researcher, a gifted instructor, an astute colleague, a wonderful mentor and a valued friend.” 

Frankel’s research focused on plate tectonics. He investigated strain accumulation along tectonic boundaries as well as looked at how the plates were changing over time. In addition to his teaching, he was known in journalistic circles as being adept at explaining his science to the general public, appearing on CNN whenever there was a tsunami or an earthquake to discuss. 

"It was with great sadness that I learned of Kurt's tragic accident this morning," Georgia Tech President G.P. "Bud" Peterson said on Saturday. "This is a loss for the entire Georgia Tech community, but especially for his colleagues and students in Earth and Atmospheric Sciences.” 

A memorial service will be held for Frankel on Friday, July 8 outside of Cleveland, Ohio at Suburban Temple located at 22401 Chagrin Blvd. The service will be followed by a reception at the Cleveland Marriott East at 26300 Harvard Road.

Frankel received his bachelor’s degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2000. He earned his master’s degreeat Lehigh University in 2002 and his doctorate from the University of Southern California in 2007. He is survived by his wife, Stephanie Briggs.