Professor Irvin Glassman, the Robert H. Goddard Professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, Emeritus at Princeton University, passed away Saturday, 14th December 2019 at his home in Princeton, New Jersey, United States. As a longtime member and Fellow of The Combustion Institute, co-author of the authoritative textbook Combustion, and the founding editor of the journal Combustion Science and Technology, Professor Glassman made pioneering contributions in chemical propulsion and fundamental combustion and was an innovator in the field of aeronautics.
Professor Glassman received his B.E. (1943) and Dr.Eng. (1950) in Chemical Engineering from Johns Hopkins University. He joined Princeton University in 1950 as an assistant professor and was awarded tenure in 1958. Promoted to full professor in 1964, Glassman was appointed as the Robert H. Goddard Professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering in 1988. He was elected a Member of the National Academy of Engineering in 1996. Known affectionately by his colleagues as the “Grand Old Man of Combustion,” Professor Glassman retired from Princeton University in 1999 after 49 years.
Professor Glassman was an American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics Fellow and member of the New York Academy of Sciences and was elected to the Outstanding Educators in America. He was the advisor to numerous universities, NASA, the Army, NATO, ONR, NIST, the State of New Jersey, and many industries, most notably United Technologies Corporation where he chaired two of their Scientific Advisory Committees.
In August 2018, Professor Glassman was awarded the 2018 Daniel Guggenheim Medal for his influential contributions to the fields of combustion and propulsion. The Daniel Guggenheim Medal was established in 1929 to honor innovators who make notable achievements in the advancement of aeronautics. Its first recipient was Orville Wright. The medal is jointly sponsored by the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA), American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME), SAE International (originally the Society of Automotive Engineers) and the Vertical Flight Society (originally the American Helicopter Society).
While Professor Glassman’s contributions to the aerospace industry are clear, his ability to teach, advise and mentor students also was truly outstanding, Professor Glassman was “widely recognized as an inspirational faculty member devoted to the teaching of fundamentals–and doing so in a manner that instills fascination in his students and the application of basic knowledge,” noted Norman R. Augustine, retired chairman and chief executive officer of Lockheed Martin Corporation.
“If future historians were to write the impact of chemical propulsion and fundamental combustion on humanity in the second half of the 20th century, Professor Glassman would be the singular person who represents the coming of age of the discipline, particularly the robustness of combustion chemistry,” said C.K. (Ed) Law, the Robert H. Goddard Professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at Princeton University and member of The Eastern States Section of The Combustion Institute.
The Combustion Institute honors Irvin Glassman’s accomplishments as a leader who made significant contributions to the advancement of many diverse scientific communities around the world.
Partially adapted from a press release by the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics