Unexpected encore

Maurice Adams performed a Mozart clarinet concerto in 2013 in Harkness Chapel

A second chance at life helped to make an author of Professor Mike Adams

Professor emeritus Maurice “Mike” Adams Jr. may be the happiest engineer in Cleveland.  He recently published three books that tap his engineering expertise. Better yet, in February, he reached his five-year remission date. 

That, the doctors say, means he’s cancer free.

“God was good to me,” said Adams, who retired in 2015 from the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at the Case School of Engineering. “It was a one year trip to hell and back but I made it through.”

Authorship and cancer treatments went hand in hand.

The warning bell sounded in 2014, when he had a pair of wisdom teeth pulled. His jaw was slow to heal and his dentist sent him to a specialist, who spied the cancer. Adams, who lost his wife to lung cancer, retired from Case after 33 years on the faculty.

His cancer was discovered early enough to be treated successfully, though rather dramatically. A surgeon removed his right jawbone. Adams came away feeling physically fine but emotionally bereft. Along with being an engineer and a professor, he’s a concert-level clarinetist. Or was.

When he realized he could not play his beloved clarinet at the same level, he set the instrument aside. And began to type.

 “I’m not going to complain,” he said. “I’m alive and well. I said to hell with it. I started writing books.”

The books tapped engineering knowledge gleaned in the labs on Case Quad and during 14 years in private industry, with employers like Westinghouse and Worthington.

CRC Press published Power Plant Centrifugal Pumps and Rotating Machinery R&D Test Rigs in 2017, then Bearings in 2018.

Adams is at work on another book at his home in Chagrin Falls, this one exploring machine design and development. He’s ready to teach again, should the opportunity arise. And he takes pride in the fact that all four of his sons became mechanical engineers.

“I’m loving life,” he said. “I’ve got lots to be happy for.”

You can reach him via mla5@case.edu.