Elected in 1981
“For outstanding contributions to development of
finite element method theory and dissemination of
knowledge concerning its application to engineering practice.”
BY ROBERT L. TAYLOR
In May 2011, I attended the 19th International Conference on Computer Methods in Mechanics held in Warsaw, Poland. As I sat in a main lecture hall of the Warsaw University of Technology for the opening session, I could not help but recall my good friend Olgierd Cecil Zienkiewicz, who died on January 2, 2009, in Swansea, Wales, after a brief illness. In the summer of 1939, Olek (as his friends knew him) was in Warsaw preparing to take the entrance examination to enter the Technical University to study civil engineering. The events of September 1939 changed the course of his career and undoubtedly that of the field of computational mechanics.
At the time of his death, Olek was professor emeritus and director of the Institute for Numerical Methods in Engineering at the University of Wales, Swansea, and held the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization chair of numerical methods in engineering at the Universitat Politecnica de Cataluña in Barcelona, Spain. During his long career he was a great engineer in the construction of hydroelectric projects, author of many books and technical articles, cofounder of technical journals, and a leader in the field of civil engineering. He was also an avid sailor, enjoyed snorkeling, and was an adventurous gourmet.