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Memorial Tributes, Volume 14
growth centered in the petroleum industry, where chemical composition could be described with continuous functions, rather than requiring only the periodic table. More recently, Ted led the expansion of chemical engineering into materials science, a continuing effort.
Ted’s own research reflected this transition from theoretical chemistry to chemical engineering. He made significant contributions to statistical mechanics, interfacial phenomena, and transport in porous media. His work on tertiary oil recovery, a long-standing collaboration with L. E. Scriven, continues to supply part of the scientific underpinning for efforts to use as much of the world’s oil supplies as efficiently as possible. I remain indebted to Ted for his efforts to teach me percolation theory. In all, Ted wrote over 400 papers and advised more than 80 graduate students. These intellectual accomplishments earned him the Walker Award from the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (1990) and election to the National Academy of Engineering (1988). In 1997, Davis was named a regents professor, the university’s highest recognition for faculty excellence. He received a Humboldt Research Award in 2005, and in 2008 he was inducted into the first class of the Minnesota Science and Technology Hall of Fame.
In 1995, Ted Davis became dean of the Institute of Technology, Minnesota’s college of physical science and engineering. During his tenure, he catalyzed establishment of the Digital Technology Center, the Department of Biomedical Engineering, and several programs in software and infrastructure engineering. As dean he not only seemed honest, but was honest. He also had the astonishing ability to change subjects effortlessly and to talk in depth about each: phase transitions, microwave bread baking, surface tension-driven instabilities, or improving his Corvette’s acceleration.
All of us who knew Ted still miss him every day.
Preceded in death by his wife, Eugenia; he is survived by his second wife, Kathy; son, Bill; daughter, Maria; one granddaughter, Evyenia (Evy) Davis; and sisters, Gwen Spangler and Judy Fitzgerald.