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Caltech Mourns the Passing of Anatol Roshko, 1923–2017

Published on Tuesday, January 24, 2017 | 9:46 am
Anatol Roshko Credit: National Academy of Engineering

Anatol Roshko (MS ’47, PhD ’52), Theodore von Kármán Professor of Aeronautics, Emeritus, at Caltech, passed away on January 23, 2017. He was 93 years old.

Known for his research in several areas of gas dynamics and fluid mechanics, Roshko made contributions to problems of separated flow, bluff-body aerodynamics, shock-wave boundary-layer interactions, shock-tube technology, and the structure of turbulent shear flows. With pioneering aerodynamics researcher Hans Liepmann, he coauthored the widely used textbook Elements of Gasdynamics, published in 1956.

Born on July 15, 1923 in Bellevue, Alberta, Canada, Roshko received a BSc degree in engineering physics from the University of Alberta in 1945, and, after a brief tour in the Royal Canadian Artillery, came to what would later be known as the Graduate Aerospace Laboratories of the California Institute of Technology (GALCIT), where he earned his MS (1947) and PhD (1952) degrees. He spent the rest of his professional career at the Institute, first as a research fellow (1952–54) and senior research fellow (1954–55), then as an assistant professor (1955–58), associate professor (1958–62), and professor (1962–85). He was named von Kármán Professor in 1985, and retired in 1994. From 1985 to 1987, he served as acting director of GALCIT.

Roshko was a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering; a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA), the American Physical Society (APS), and the Canadian Aeronautics and Space Institute; and an honorary member of the Indian Academy of Sciences. His many awards include a Distinguished Alumni Award from the University of Alberta, the Reed Aeronautics Award and the Fluid Dynamics Award from the AIAA, the APS’s Fluid Dynamics Prize, and the Timoshenko Medal of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers.

A full obituary will follow at a later date.

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