Stuart W. Churchill, Engineering

Stuart W. Churchill, the Carl V. S. Patterson Professor Emeritus of Chemical Engineering and professor emeritus of biomolecular engineering at Penn, died on March 24. He was 95 years old.

Dr. Churchill was a leader in the fields of combustion, heat transfer and fluid dynamics for over half a century. He received BS degrees in both chemical engineering and mathematics from the University of Michigan in 1942, and went on to work at Shell Oil Company and Frontier Chemical. He returned to the University of Michigan in 1947 and became a member of the faculty after receiving his PhD in 1952. He served as chairman of the department of chemical & metallurgical engineering from 1962-1967. He was an active member of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE), serving as its president in 1966. In 2008, the AIChE designated him as one of the 100 most distinguished chemical engineers of the modern era.

In 1967, Dr. Churchill became the Carl V. S. Patterson Professor of Chemical Engineering at SEAS and earned one of Penn’s first Medals for Distinguished Achievement in 1993 (Almanac November 2, 1993). He also served as a visiting professor at Iowa State University, the University of Utah, Pennsylvania State University and Okayama University.

Dr. Churchill was awarded Penn Engineering’s S. Reid Warren, Jr. Award for Distinguished Teaching in 1978. He advised 25 doctoral students at Michigan and 20 at Penn. Every doctoral thesis involved a significant experimental component, in addition to heavy emphasis on mathematics, often involving digital computation. He authored several textbooks, including Interpretation and Use of Rate Data—the Rate Process Concept (1974), The Practical Use of Theory in Fluid Flow: Inertial Flows (1980) and Viscous Flows: The Practical Use of Theory (1988).

Dr. Churchill was elected a member of the National Academy of Engineering (NAE) in 1974. In 2002, he received the NAE Founders Award for “outstanding leadership in research, education and professional service and for continuing contributions in combustion, heat transfer and fluid dynamics for over a half century.” His awards included the AIChE Professional Progress Award (1964), the William H. Walker Award (1969), the Warren K. Lewis Award (1978) and the Max Jakob Award in Heat Transfer (1979). He authored 215 papers and six books before retiring in 1990 and wrote 110 additional papers afterwards. On the occasion of his 80th birthday, he was honored with a symposium, a portrait (Almanac September 5, 2000) and a Festschrift in Industrial and Engineering Chemistry Research, a leading archival journal in chemical engineering.

Dr. Churchill is survived by his wife, Renate, and his children, Stuart L., Diana, Catherine and Emily. At his request, there will be no funeral; instead, his body will be contributed for scientific studies. Plans for a memorial service will be announced.