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Memorial Tributes, Volume 14
Flow of Homogeneous Fluids Through Porous Media” (originally published in 1937 and translated into Russian 13 years later). Petroleum reservoir engineering is the most complex of the specialties in petroleum engineering because it must deal with mixtures of liquid and gaseous hydrocarbons that are no longer in equilibrium after production begins and are contained in a poorly defined porous medium at significant depth. Dr. Muskat helped establish the basic principles of this discipline. He defined the fundamental parameters and dynamic concepts governing the flow of oil and gas within a reservoir. His theoretical studies of steady-state and transient flow through porous media are considered classics in the field of hydrology.
Despite his role as the acknowledged founder of reservoir engineering, Morris found time to publish, and to obtain patents, in many diverse fields of science and engineering—for example, quantum mechanics, scattering of alpha-rays, well logging (microwave and neutron), mass spectroscopy, isomerization, lubrication theory, hydrodynamics, and mechanics of shaped charges.
Following the tragic death of his daughter, Rosalyn, in a road accident in Vietnam in 1969 and the death of his wife, Fern, a few years later, Morris relocated to Pasadena, California, and disengaged himself from professional activities. He told me that, although he still maintained a deep interest in U.S. oil and gas reserves, his principal concern was focused on the proliferation of nuclear weapons and the uncertainty of humanity’s survival.
His older daughter, Phyllis M. Goddard, of Altadena, California passed away in January, 2004. He is survived by sons David A. Muskat of Painesville, Ohio, and Robert E. Muskat of The Woodlands, Texas, and seven grandchildren.