an unthinkable occurrence in the Pigford department. Of course he would accept advice if he requested it; his generosity of spirit was such that intrigues between him and his colleagues were simply unthinkable. In turn his colleagues were usually equally ready to grant him discretion in use of any advice he sought. Such indeed was the Pigford department: one administered by mutual altruism. And his vision for his university was that all departments would some day, too, share in such altruism. Can there be a more beautiful legacy?

Professionally, under Robert Pigford's leadership the department developed rapidly to become one of primary stature nationally. He became one of the most vigorous and most effective advocates of the need to combine engineering science with industrial practice to develop the art as well as the science of the discipline, and of the need to graduate practitioners with creative as well as analytic skills. Professor Pigford had major impact on the profession through his books, lectures, and extensive research papers, and through the activities of a large group of former students and visiting faculty who have become leaders in the field around the world. He was one of the earliest proponents of the use of computers in engineering, and built several for both instruction and research before the widespread availability of such equipment.

At the time, one of the modern subjects for attack by extensive numerical calculations was that of mass transfer accompanied by chemical reaction. While empirical correlations, restricted to very specific chemical systems, had been available for some time, there was little scientific material of any generality. Indeed, the bulk of the literature on this subject, circa 1950, consisted of largely qualitative physiological observations reported by medical practitioners. Buoyed by his earlier industrial exposure to this subject,



The National Academies | 500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001
Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement