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Physics of Fluids Journal Dedicated a Special Issue to Edward ‘Ted’ O’Brien

Edward obrien featured
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Edward O’Brien, Engineering, 1961

The journal Physics of Fluids released a special issue dedicated to the memory of the late Edward E. “Ted” O’Brien, a Stony Brook University professor emeritus of mechanical engineering.

Published by the American Institute of Physics, the special edition had multiple guest editors, including Stony Brook University Associate Professor Foluso Ladeinde, founding chair of the Department of Mechanical Engineering at SUNY Korea and a mentee of O’Brien; Professor Emeritus César Dopazo of Zaragoza University, Spain, said to be one of the most celebrated students of O’Brien in academia; and Professor Peyman Givi, a colleague of  O’Brien and a distinguished professor at the University of Pittsburgh.

The journal said O’Brien “is considered a legend in fluid mechanics, particularly in the fields of turbulence and reactive flows.”

“I am very pleased to be involved with this effort of immortalizing Ted’s name,” said Ladeinde. “It is my hope that Stony Brook University will take pride, not only in Ted’s academic accomplishments per se, but also in the international recognition of same.”

O’Brien was a professor of fluid mechanics, a member of ASME and the New York Academy of Sciences as well as a Fellow of the American Physical Society. He joined Stony Brook University in 1961, when the university held its first commencement and appointed its first president. He joined the inaugural faculty as a founding professor in the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences and a member of the Department of Thermal Sciences. Under his leadership, the program gained popularity and grew into what is now the Department of Mechanical Engineering, where he served as the chair from 1983 to 1991.

Regarded as a pioneer in the field, O’Brien made a variety of contributions to fluid mechanics and turbulent combustion, specifically. From the beginning of his career in the 1950s, he made fundamental contributions to the spectral theory of reactive scalars. In the 1970s-80s, he was widely recognized for introducing and popularizing single- and multi-point probability density functions (PDF) closures within the reactive turbulent flow community. Through the 1990s to present day, his contributions continued to be well received and highly cited to the end of his research career.

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