Elected to NAE in 1996
“For contributions to the field of two-phase flow and heat transfer and its
application to nuclear-reactor thermohydraulics.”
BY JULIO M. OTTINO AND STEPHEN DAVIS
S. GEORGE BANKOFF, professor emeritus of chemical engineering at Northwestern University, whose research into the fundamentals of heat transfer and two-phase flow won him recognition in the fields of chemical and nuclear engineering, died July 13, 2011. He was 89.
George was born on October 7, 1921, in Brooklyn. Three years later his father was killed in a robbery, leaving his mother to raise him and his siblings alone. Nevertheless, he excelled in academics, finishing high school with honors and entering Columbia University at age 16. He went on to receive his B.S. and M.S. degrees in mineral dressing in 1940 and 1941, respectively.
George worked briefly for DuPont before becoming a subleader team member on the Manhattan Project, where he worked on pile heat transfer and fluid flow. He eventually returned to DuPont, where his work on plastics, specifically his patent on polytetrafluoroethylene suspensoids, made commercial production of Teflon feasible at the time.
George began his academic career at Rose Polytechnic Institute (now Rose-Hulman) as an assistant professor while he commuted twice a week to simultaneously pursue his Ph.D. at Purdue University, which he received in 1952. He became