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Memorial Tributes, Volume 14
COLEMAN DUPONT DONALDSON
Elected in 1979
“For research on supersonic diffusers, viscous vortex motion andturbulent transport phenomena, with application to solution ofpractical engineering problems.”
BY DENNIS M. BUSHNELL
COLEMAN DUPONT DONALDSON, a giant in the development of aerospace and founder of Aeronautical Research Associates of Princeton, New Jersey, died August 7, 2009, at his home in Newport News, Virginia, at the age of 86.
Coleman Donaldson was elected to the National Academy of Engineering in 1979, “for research on supersonic diffusers, viscous vortex motion and turbulent transport phenomena, with application to practical engineering problems.”
Dr. Donaldson was born on September 22, 1922, in Philadelphia to John Wilcox and Renee duPont Donaldson and was a grandson of Thomas Coleman duPont, president of E. I. duPont de Nemours and Company. He evidenced early on an intense lifelong interest in aviation, building a reproduction airplane on the roof of a barn at his parents’ home and spending many hours “flying it.” His father was an early naval aviator. He maintained a multiengine instrument pilot rating until very late in life. Aeronautics/aviation and aerospace defined the vast majority of his life’s work and were a major personal passion.
Donaldson graduated with a B.S. in aeronautical engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in 1942. He earned both master’s (1954) and doctoral (1957) degrees in aeronautical engineering from Princeton University, where he was a