February 3, 1895–October 17, 1979
BY ASCHER H. SHAPIRO
THE RICH INSPIRING life of C. Richard (“Dick”) Soderberg, Institute Professor emeritus at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology came to an end at age eighty-four. With roots in the simple realities of a boyhood in a fishing family on a remote Swedish island in the Baltic Sea, his qualities of mind and character led him first into a distinguished industrial career as an engineer in his adopted country, the United States. He went on to an illustrious career in engineering education, with remarkable consulting activities on the side. His years were marked by an expansive and seemingly unlimited passion to learn, by a capacity to teach, by a superb intuitive sense of design and rightness, by an unflagging breadth of intellectual interest, by a deep understanding of the social and historical forces set in motion by technology, and by a warmth and nobility of spirit that endeared him to his colleagues and friends.
Three major phases in his professional life were especially notable. First, at the Westinghouse Electric & Manufacturing Company he was instrumental in solving the problems of steam turbines as these progressed to ever larger sizes and higher operating pressures and temperatures. Second, as a professor, department head, and dean of engi-