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Elected in 1979

“For development of theoretical bases for convective heat transfer analysis and contributions to fluid mechanics.”


WILLIAM CRAIG REYNOLDS died of a malignant brain tumor at his home in Los Altos, California, on January 3, 2004, after 53 years at Stanford. He was 70 years old.

Born in 1933 in Berkeley, Bill entered Stanford as an undergraduate and chose to remain there for the rest of his career. He completed his bachelor’s (1954), master’s (1955), and doctoral (1957) degrees at Stanford and then joined the faculty. He chaired the Department of Mechanical Engineering from 1972 to 1982 and from 1989 to 1992.

As a scientist, Bill was the ultimate independent thinker, a self-starter, perhaps even a maverick. While following his muse, he might have repeatedly reinvented the proverbial wheel, but he also found novel and exciting ideas and designs that enriched the field of engineering and inspired the people around him. He was a true believer in the familiar maxim, “If you want something done right, you had better do it yourself.” Not a natural delegator and an advocate of hands-on problem solving, he usually found himself immersed in a variety of projects. Fortunately, he was blessed with boundless energy and indefatigable enthusiasm.

Bill’s main research interest was in turbulent flow, but he worked in nearly all branches and extensions of fluid mechanics, using experimental, theoretical, and computational methods with equal facility. The list of research areas in which he

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