Paul A. Libby

Paul A. Libby

Fellow: Awarded 1972
Field of Study: Applied Mathematics

Competition: US & Canada

University of California, San Diego

Paul A. Libby  received his bachelor’s degree from the Polytechnic Institute of Brooklyn in 1942. After working as an Apprentice Engineer at Chance Vought Aircraft in Stratford, Connecticut, for two years, he entered the Navy, served until 1946 in the Structures Branch of the Bureau of Aeronautics, and was discharged as a Lieutenant Junior Grade. He rerurned to the Polytechnic, received his doctorate in 1949, was appointed to the faculty and rose in the ranks to professor. In the early 1950s, Professor Antonio Ferri, an internationally known specialist in supersonic aerodynamics and propulsion, joined the faculty of the Polytechnic. Professor Libby was his assistant for ten years and collaborated with him on the development of facilities for supersonic and hypersonic experimentation and on associated theoretical research. In 1964 Professor Libby was recruited by Professor S. S. Penner to join the newly established Department of Aeronautical and Mechanical Engineering Sciences at the University of California, San Diego, the first engineering department on campus. At UCSD Professor Libby has served on various academic committees and held various administrative positions, e.g., Associate Dean of Graduate Affairs, Acting Dean of Graduate Affairs, and Chair of the Department. He is curretnly Professor Emeritus of Fluid Mechanics. While at UCSD Professor Libby has served as a U.S. member of the Fluid Dynamics Panel of AGARD and on various government ad hoc panels. He is a Fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics and of the American Physical Society. He was elected to the National Academy of Engineering in 1999.

During the past thirty years the main research interest of Professor Libby has pertained to the theoretical analysis of laminar and turbulent flows, especially flows with relatively simple geometries and with associated experimental data. This research has resulted in roughly 230 journal articles. The following are some of the topics covered in these articles: a theory of intermittent turbulence such as occurs at the outer edges of turbulent jets, wakes and boundary layers; a theory of the transient combustion of graphite spheres injected into a hot oxidizing ambient; an extension of hot wire anemometry in terms of the development of a hot-wire probe for measuring time resolved velocities and helium concentration in turbulent helium-air mixtures; a theory and associated experiments demonstrating countergradient and non-gradient transport in premixed turbulent flames; and the application of asymptotic methods in various turbulent flows. With Professor Forman Williams he has edited and written chapters in two monographs concerning turbulent combustion and has written a textbook on turbulence.

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