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Memorial Tributes, Volume 12
RUTHERFORD ARIS 1929–2005
Elected in 1975
“For contributions to the literature of chemical engineering on control theoryand optimization and on the theory of reaction and diffusion.”
BY NEAL R. AMUNDSON AND W. HARMON RAY
RUTHERFORD ARIS, regents professor emeritus of chemical engineering and classics at the University of Minnesota, died on November 2, 2005, after a long and distinguished career. Aris was born in Bournemouth, England, on September 15, 1929 to parents Algernon and Janet Aris. He had all his formal education in Great Britain. Aris completed a first-class honors B.Sc. degree in mathematics, with a minor in physics, at the University of London at the age of 16. However, the university did not think it proper to award a degree to someone so young, requiring him to wait until 1948, when he was 19, to receive the degree. Meanwhile, he worked in industry at Imperial Chemical Industries (ICI) Ltd. as a laboratory assistant from 1946 to 1948. From 1948 to 1950 he pursued postgraduate studies at the University of Edinburgh, supported by ICI, and rejoined ICI as a technical officer during 1950–1955. At the invitation of Neal Amundson, Aris spent the year 1955–1956 at the University of Minnesota as a research fellow. He returned to England and was a lecturer in technical mathematics at Edinburgh University in the period 1956–1958. In 1958 he was invited to join the Chemical Engineering Department at Minnesota as an assistant professor even though he had no Ph.D. degree. At the same time he became an external Ph.D. student at the University of London and completed his Ph.D. in mathematics and chemical