Professor Emeritus David Himmelblau Dies

Dr. David HimmelblauThe department is sad to report the death of Dr. David Himmelblau, the Paul D. and Betty Robertson Meek and American Petrofina Foundation Centennial Professor Emeritus in Chemical Engineering, on April 27, 2011 in Austin at age 87.

Professor Himmelblau taught at the university for 42 years.  He authored 11 books and over 200 articles on process analysis, process optimization and fault detection using artificial neural networks.

His book “Basic Principles and Calculations in Chemical Engineering” was recognized as one of the most important books in the field by the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE).

“Dr. Himmelblau is one of the professors I remember most fondly from my years in the graduate program at UT Austin,” said Victor Martinez.  “I used his textbook in basic chemical engineering calculations as an undergraduate and it was such a great honor to meet him in person when I arrived for my doctorate. He was such a joy to talk to, always in a good mood and always willing to help.”

Himmelblau was president of the Computer Aids for Chemical Engineering Education Corporation (CACHE) as well a director of AIChE during his career. He received numerous awards, including the CACHE Award from the Chemical Engineering Division of the American Society for Engineering Education; the Joe J. King Professional Engineering Achievement Award; and the AIChE Founders Award.

He received his bachelor’s in chemical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1947 after serving as an officer in the U.S. Army during World War II. In 1957 he earned a doctorate in chemical engineering from the University of Washington.

Read more about Dr. Himmelblau’s life, or post a message for his family, on his memorial webpage.  He opted to not have a visitation or service and his family requests that contributions be made to Friends of Alec, the Cockrell School of Engineering or Hospice Austin in lieu of sending flowers.

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