EDUARD C. PESTEL
BY FREDERICK F. LING
EDUARD C. PESTEL, industrial designer, researcher in mechanics, educator, and statesman, died on September 19, 1988, at the age of seventy-four.
Elected to the National Academy of Engineering as a foreign associate in February 1981, Eduard worked and studied on three continents. At the time of his election he was minister for science and art of the State of Lower Saxony, Germany. He was born in Hildesheim, Germany, on May 29, 1914.
Eduard attended the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and the Technical University (TU) of Hannover, Germany. He received an M.S. degree from Rensselaer in 1939 and a Dr. Ing. degree from the TU, Hannover, in 1947.
His earlier career was in industry. Between 1942 and 1946 he was head of the Engineering Division, Leybold K.K. in Osaka, Japan. From 1946 to 1947 he was director of the Planning and Research Division of Kinzoku Kogyo K.K., the Japanese industrial concern in Osaka.
Upon earning his Dr. Ing. degree, Eduard remained at the Technical University of Hannover. His professional history at the university follows: deputy director, Institute of Mechanics, 1948–1951; dean of faculty for mechanical engineering, 1961–1962; rector (president) of the university, 1969–1970; and professor and director of the Institute of Mechanics, 1957–1977. In 1977 Eduard was appointed minister for science and art of the State of Lower Saxony.
The aggregate effect of Dr. Pestel's work is most unusual for its both strong and wide-ranging impact. Among his many contributions are those that by themselves are unique, but taken together they represent writings and accomplishments of sufficient influence to justify categorizing him as a ''universal man" in twentieth-century engineering. His major contributions included the following:
Publishing and lecturing as an engineering scientist and educator in such fields as computer modeling, ecosciences, elastomechanics, biomechanics, and university reform,
Authoring the definitive and widely used book Matrix Methods in Elastomechanics with F. A. Leckie,
Initiating and contributing to the field of futurology along with J. W. Forrester and colleagues in the Club of Rome,
Functioning as a top-level representative of German engineering in industry, academe, and government, and
Promoting the arts as an accomplished pianist and lecturer.
Eduard was elected a member of the Braunschweigische Scientific Society in 1959. He served as a member of the Senate and Grants Committee of the German Research Society (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft) 1965–1971; as vice-president of the German Research Society, 1971–1977; as the German delegate to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Science Committee, 1966–1988; as a member of the Executive Committee of the Club of Rome, 1969–1988; and as a board member of the Institute for Systems Analysis and Innovation Research of the Fraunhofer Society, Karlsruhe, 1973–1988.
He received an honorary doctorate from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in 1970 and from Bochum University in Germany in 1984. He served as governor of the European Cultural Foundation, Amsterdam, Holland; chairman of the Senate of the Fraunhofer Society, München-Gladbach, Germany; and chairman of the board of the Volkswagenwerk Foundation.
Eduard is survived by his wife, Anneliesa, and four children, Rubin, Suzanna, Micky, and Wendy.