Dr Mel Siff was a sports scientist and biomechanist who specialized in applying these disciplines to enhance human performance, fitness, sporting excellence and injury rehabilitation. He was a Senior Lecturer in the School of Mechanical Engineering at the University of the Witwatersrand (popularly known as "Wits") in Johannesburg, South Africa, where he was on staff for about 30 years.
He had a PhD in physiology specializing in biomechanics, MSc (Applied Mathematics), was awarded summa cum laude in brain research, BSc Honours in Applied Mathematics and a BSc (Physics, Applied Math).
His main teaching duties were in applied mechanics, biomechanics and professional communication. Previous appointments included Headships of the Sports Administration and the Communication Studies Division at his university. Besides lecturing to engineering students, he regularly lectured to physiotherapy and physical education students at several universities in South Africa.
He presented numerous papers at over 100 international conferences in sports science, sports medicine, physiology, strength conditioning, physiotherapy, physical education, ergonomics, engineering, psychology, chiropractic, communication and linguistics. He wrote many papers and/or books in these disciplines and was author/co-producer of a rock opera, "Genesis Won." He addressed conferences of the NSCA in the USA and Australia, as well as IDEA in the USA and the Exercise Association in England.
After several working visits to Russia, he wrote the well-known textbook "Supertraining," which us recognized as one of the most definitive treatises available on all methods of strength training. His other book, "Facts and Fallacies of Fitness," has also gained widespread popularity among fitness professionals and the general public.
He was the longest-serving chairman in the history of his university's Sports Council (1971-78), and he played a pivotal role in establishing its Sports Administration.
Mel passed away suddenly on Wednesday, March 19, 2003 at his home in Denver. He was 59 years old.