A giant in industrial ecology passed away - Bob Ayres

Dear ISIE community:

It is with profound sadness that I inform you of the passing of Robert (Bob) Ayers who died on October 23, 2023 at age 91. Bob was not only one of the earliest and life-long members of ISIE, but also a founding father of the field of Industrial Ecology, something recognized by the Society in awarding him the ISIE’s very first Society Prize. Bob's contributions to our society and the field as a whole have been invaluable. His departure is a great loss to our community and the world of Industrial Ecology.

Trained as a physicist, Bob dedicated his life to advancing the principles and practices of Industrial Ecology. His work on tracking material flows and transformations was instrumental in the development of the field. His groundbreaking research and insightful contributions have shaped the very foundation of our discipline, inspiring generations of researchers and practitioners. Bob's intellectual curiosity, passion for sustainability, and unwavering commitment to a better, more sustainable world will be remembered by all who had the privilege of working alongside him.

In honor of Bob's life and his immense contributions, we are organizing a series of activities in his memory. These activities will provide an opportunity for our members and the broader community to come together as a society, celebrate his life, and continue the work he held so dear. Further details will be communicated to you later.

Bob was not just a colleague; he was a friend and a mentor to many of us. His legacy will endure in the field of Industrial Ecology and in the hearts of all those he touched with his wisdom and kindness. Let us come together to celebrate his life and ensure that his work continues to inspire and guide us in our shared journey toward a sustainable future.

If you have any questions or would like to contribute to the memorial activities, please do not hesitate to reach out to us.

We have created a place for ISIE members to contribute thoughts about Bob on our website at this link: 


Ming Xu
International Society for Industrial Ecology