Professor Sichel was born in Stuttgart, Germany in 1928. His family emigrated to The United States in 1937. He completed the requirements for a Master's Degree in Mechanical Engineering at The Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in 1951, and while there participated in a Cooperative Program with The General Electric Company. He then joined the General Electric Company where he worked for The General Engineering and Consulting Laboratory., While there he participated in The General Electric Advanced Engineering Program. In September, 1954 he was drafted into the US Army, and after basic training was assigned to The Army Chemical Center in Edgewood, MD. While there he worked on various aspects of chemical weapon development. From 1956 to 1961 he completed the requirements for a PhD in Aeronautical Engineering at Princeton University. In part his studies were financed by The Korean GI Bill of Rights.
In 1961 Professor Sichel joined The Department of Aeronautical Engineering at The University of Michigan. While there he has worked and published extensively in the area of combustion and explosions. He has been the chair and principal supervisor of approximately 30 PhD programs. He has also held various administrative positions within the Aero Department, including Chair of Graduate Programs. He has also served on The Executive Committee of the College of Engineering. He is the author or co-author of approximately 100 publications. He is also a Fellow of The Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics.
Professor Sichel received The University of Michigan Distinguished Service Award in 1964, The Stephen S. Atwood Distinguished Engineering Achievement Award in 1985, and The A.K. Oppenheim Prize in 1995.