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Memorial Tributes: Volume 3 (1989)

Chapter: Phillip Eisenberg

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Suggested Citation:"Phillip Eisenberg." National Academy of Engineering. 1989. Memorial Tributes: Volume 3. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/1384.
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Page 144
Suggested Citation:"Phillip Eisenberg." National Academy of Engineering. 1989. Memorial Tributes: Volume 3. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/1384.
×
Page 145
Suggested Citation:"Phillip Eisenberg." National Academy of Engineering. 1989. Memorial Tributes: Volume 3. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/1384.
×
Page 146
Suggested Citation:"Phillip Eisenberg." National Academy of Engineering. 1989. Memorial Tributes: Volume 3. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/1384.
×
Page 147
Suggested Citation:"Phillip Eisenberg." National Academy of Engineering. 1989. Memorial Tributes: Volume 3. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/1384.
×
Page 148
Suggested Citation:"Phillip Eisenberg." National Academy of Engineering. 1989. Memorial Tributes: Volume 3. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/1384.
×
Page 149

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PHILLIP EISENBERG 1919-1984 BY JOHN V. WEHAUSEN PHILLIP EISENBERG died of cardiac arrest on December 16, 1984. For more than thirty years, he had been a leader in the application of hyclrodynamics to ships and offshore struc- tures as well as to related industrial hyctrodynamic problems. He was one of the founders in 1959 of Hydronautics, Inc., a firm that, from its inception, was noted for its excellent staff and its forwarcI-looking leadership. Phillip Eisenberg served as its president until he sold his interest in the company in April 1983. Eisenberg was born in Detroit, Michigan, on November 6, 1919. He attencled the Detroit public schools and graduated from Wayne State University with a B.S. in civil engineering in 1941. Following a further year of study at the University of Towa's Institute of Hydraulic Research, he began his professional career as a research engineer at the U.S. Navy's David Taylor Model Basin, in Washington, D.C. In 1944 Eisenberg received his commission as an ensign in the Navy ant! served on the Naval Technical Mission in Eu- rope. Following the war, he returned to his job as a civilian at the Taylor Model Basin, becoming head of the Fluid Phe- nomena Branch. He interrupter] his work there for further study at the California Institute of Technology, from which he received a civil engineering degree in 1948. Upon his return to the Taylor Model Basin from the Cali- 145

146 MEMORIAL TRIBUTES fornia Institute of Technology, Eisenberg continual as head of the Fluict Phenomena Branch until 1953, when he left to become head of the Mechanics Branch of the Office of Naval Research. He helct this position until 1959 when he and Mar- shall Tulin foundect Hycironautics, Inc., which was first lo- cated in a rather modest setting in Rockville, MarylancI, and later mover! to its present location in Laurel, MarylancI. This bare-bones description of Eisenberg's career gives vir- tually no sense of his importance to the field of naval hydro- clynamics (a term that he introduced), an importance based on his own contributions ant] the influence he brought to bear on its development during his years at the Office of Na- val Research and at Hyctronautics, Inc. During Eisenberg's years at the Taylor Mode] Basin and his early years at Hy- cironautics (before he became so involvect in its administra- tion), there were few aspects of shin hv~rocivnamics to which he die! not contribute. --r --I One field, however, consistently tired Eisenberg to it and evoked his interest cavitation and the damage resulting from it. His first publication on this subject appeared in 1947; his last, in 1978. Some of these publications are re- search papers anct some are expository review articles. One of the latter has become a standard reference on the subject ~ · . 01 cavitation. Eisenberg's six years as head of the Mechanics Branch of the Office of Naval Research were fruitful in a different way. The previous years had given him an overview of the re- search needs of the U.S. Navy in naval hydrodynamics, and he used the influence of his new position to develop a re- search program that wouIc! support these vital needs. More- over, an important legacy of these six years is the biennial symposium on naval hyciroclynamics, the nineteenth of which was held in September 1984. The symposia bring to- gether the active researchers in naval hydrodynamics from all over the worIc! for a week of lectures and discussions. Their published proceedings form an important part of the literature of the fielct.

PHILLIP EISENBERG 147 One consequence of holding a position as a research acI- ministrator can be a growing sense of frustration at seeing others doing all the interesting research work. There may also be an awareness of a dangerous tendency to use the "royal we" in speaking of this work. To avoid these pitfalls, Eisenberg and his colleague Marshall Tulin decider! to form their own consulting company in 1959. As noted earlier, Hycironautics, Inc., began rather mod- estly. The company's headquarters consisted of several rooms in a former residence that had been converted for business purposes. The company's experimental tank was actually a plastic backyard swimming pool. Nonetheless, the company prospered, and within five years it had become an important national resource for naval hydroclynamics research, acquir- ing an international reputation for the excellence of its re- search and engineering development. Those who have worked at Hydronautics credit this excellence to the stimu- lating atmosphere provided by its leadership. Phillip Eisenberg has not lacked formal recognition of his talents ant! accomplishments. For his work at the Taylor Mocle! Basin cluring World War IT, he received the U-S. Navy Meritorious Civilian Award in 1944. He was elected presi- clent of the Society of Naval Architects and Marine Engineers in 1973 ant! president of the Marine Technology Society in 1976. He was a fellow in both of these societies as well as a fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, the Royal Institution of Naval Architects, and the American As- sociation for the Advancement of Science. In addition, Eisenberg was a Gibbs Brothers Medalist of the National Academy of Sciences in 1974 and a David W. Taylor Medalist of the Society of Naval Architects ant! Ma- rine Engineers in 1971; he received the Lockheed Award for Ocean Science ant! Engineering of the Marine Technology Society in 1980. He was elected to membership in the Na- tional Academy of Engineering in 1974. Eisenberg was also generous with his time, serving on vis- iting committees for university departments; on policy com- -

148 MEMORIAL TRIBUTES mittees for the National Science Foundation, the National Research Council, and the National Academy of Engineer- ing; and on numerous technical committees for various or- ganizations. He was the editor of the journal of Ship Research from 1961 to [970. These remarks would be incomplete, however, without ref- erence to Phillip Eisenberg's personal character. He was a man of staunch integrity who set high stanciarcts of personal conduct for himself and for others. His professional stan- ciards were also high but not unrealistic. Phillip's colleagues enjoyed working with him, and he maintained a warm rela- tionship with them. He was always a loyal and helpful friend ant! also a good companion. He ant! his wife Edith, a college classmate, were a congenial, mutually supportive couple, and it was always a pleasure to visit with them ant! their two daughters, Elyse and lean, at their home. Eisenberg's death did not come unexpectedly. His health was doubly threatened, ant! he had known this since early 1984. Nevertheless, he faced the not-too-hopeful future with equanimity and optimism and continued his plannecl work insofar as his health permitted. Although he had Greatly lived a full and fruitful life, he was still active in public service after his retirement from Hydronautics. Phillip Eisenberg's course! will be missed by many, but he will be missed even more as a friend.

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