University of Wisconsin Madison College of Engineering

Birthday Symposium and Banquet Main Page

Symposium speakers

Shelley Anna, Professor, Carnegie Mellon, academic great-granddaughter of Bob

Robert Armstrong, Director of the MIT Energy Initiative, PhD with Bob 1973

William Banholzer, Chief Technical Officer (retired), Dow

Timothy Lodge, Professor, University of Minnesota

Gareth McKinley, Professor, MIT, academic grandson of Bob

Robert Prud’homme,  Professor, Princeton, PhD with Bob 1978

Jay Schieber, Professor, Illinois Institute of Technology, PhD with Bob 1989

Phillip Westmoreland, Professor, NC State and President of AIChE

View Birthday Wishes/Remembrances

Make a gift in Bob's honor

Symposium and Banquet Photos

Letter from Bob

Contact:
608-262-1092
che@che.wisc.edu

 

Birthday Wishes and Remembrances

 

Bob, best wishes on your birthday, and a belated thank you for your inspiration (and your company - hiking).
F. Joseph Schork
Professor, Georgia Tech

  



Happy Birthday Bob,
I'm sorry that I can't be there in person to extend these good wishes. You have been an inspiration to many over the years!! UW and the Chemical Engineering profession have been greatly impacted by your marvelous example and many contributions.  I hope you will enjoy many more years of good health and joy filled days.
Roger Rolke

  



Happy Birthday Prof. Bird,
I still remember your early morning TP class fondly and will always keep the book, even though I have pretty much moved on from Chemical Engineering.<
All the best,
Kathy Striebel
BSChE (UW) 1980
PhD ChE (UC Berkeley) 1987

  


Professor Bird,
Happy 90th birthday!
I recall that I did a special project for you in my senior year to calculate ""activity coefficients by the group contribution method"". I will never forget my times at Madison and the inspiration of all my professors who literally ""wrote the book"" on chemical engineering. Take care and I wish you well and again HAPPY 90th!
Tom Rybarczyk

 

 


Happy 90th birthday to Bob Bird!

Since the only allowed presents are poems, how about:

Eastwood Rymelet:
Three ryming lines of 5,7,9 syllables with a Spoonerism in line 2.

Class five problems, hey
Birdfoot blood sports ChemE’s play
Jai! anemonehP tropsnarT, hooray!

USAID donated 50 copies of Transport Phenomena to my class in the Osmania University Chemical Technology Department, Hyderabad, AP, India, which I was teaching in 1962 as a Peace Corps volunteer.  I took, developed, and printed (backwards) a picture of the class displaying their new anemonehP tropsnarT books.

Jai! means “glory to” in Hindi, as in “Jai Hind!” (glory to India), or “Slava!” in Russian.

Gratefully,Carl H. Gibson, BS 1956 MS 1957 UW,
PhD Stanford 1962, Chem. E.
Prof. Engr. Phys. and Oceanogr., MAE and SIO Depts.,
UCSD (1965-date), La Jolla, 92093-0411, cgibson@ucsd.edu,
Editor: journalofcosmology.com



Happy Birthday Bob. I look forward to the party very much.

I give out the hand drawn ""family"" academic tree that you gave us (Moshe, Roger, Alberto, Alan) to my students. In addition to the extra ""branches"" to the tree that have come from students at Princeton, my daughter, Wendy (who was born when I was in graduate school), is now a faculty member in the Duke Medical School.

With age comes grace. But in my case, as in yours, it also comes with poorer hearing. This year I got hearing aides. Amazing technology.

Bob Prud'homme



Congratulations on your 90th Birthday!!  I wish you all the best.  Thank you for your life long contributions and dedication to teaching and research.   I had the pleasure of taking the BSL Transport Phenomena course from you as an undergraduate back in the mid 1960s.  I enjoyed it immensely and it has always remained one of my most memorable courses because of the way your were able to communicate the principles involved so clearly and articulately.  I still have my copyright 1960, Fifth Priniting, $12.95 copy of Transport Phenomena with all the insertions you handed out in class.  I always felt you were a most gifted instructor and researcher.  You were one of the reasons that I went on to obtain my doctorate in Chemcal Engineering and to select a fluid mechanics project with Tom Hanratty at the University of Illinois for my thesis. Thank you and may God Bless and keep you always!

Theodore H. Wegner, PhD
Assistant Director
USDA Forest Service
Foret Products laboratory
Madison, WI



 

poem for Prof. Bird on the occasion of his 90th birthday:

buon compleanno, Bob
you're not really a slob (as you mentioned in a previous poem)
I had plans to give you autographed copies of TPfCRD and PPoM
but gifts are not allowed, so please accept this ridiculous po-em
you inspired generations of students via TrPh, DPL & MTGL
for me, your books cast a mesmerizing spell
to follow your academic path
developing new equations like to EOC & EOM containing quagmire math
del dot, del cross, transpose this, transpose that
is summation notation required to capito C-sub-p with a hat
you escaped in the summers to the Boundary Waters park
and i rode my bike until just before dark
your canoe trip to Alaska was a memorable adventure
similar to my ascent of col de la Bonette, buona futura
it's simply amazing that you're writing dopo novanta
whereas others struggle to be productive dopo quaranta
buon compleanno e molti altri
capo d'anno, e tante auguri
ciao amico

Larry Belfiore
1982 PhD at UW with Stuart Cooper
ChE Professor at Colorado State University



Happy 90th Birthday Prof. Bird,
I still remember your Thermodynamics of Macro Molecular Molecules course, which I took Pass/Fail so I could get a 4 point my ending semester.  I remember saying ""hello"" in 25 different languages.  My degree was a successful launch into a fulfilling career, with four children, all of which will also earn engineering degrees.  Thanks for the inspiration. 

Sincerely,
Harold Koehn
BSChE (UW) 1976



Dear Professor Bird, I want to wish you a very happy birthday!  I took the Transport Phenomena class in the Spring semester of 1972.  I learnt a very useful lesson in life from you, beside the great academic knowledge which you had bestowed on us.  I had an 88 average going into the final and I thought I 'smoked' the final, but I found out that I got a 'C' as my final grade.  I was surprised, to say the least.  I wrote you and asked you why I had gotten a grade which was much inferior than what I thought I had achieved in my class work.  You wrote me back, which was a surprise and a thrill in itself, and told me that a) there were many graduate students in the class and they had to have a 'B' to pass, hence the grading curve was skewed, b) life was not fair and I should learn from it, c) you had received your share of 'C' when you were an undergrad and it would not be the end of the world in getting a 'C', but to always strife for excellence instead of 'stewing' over the grade or giving up, and d) you thought I would do well as a chemical engineer.  I took your advice to heart and moved on to achieve personal success...I had a successful career in manufacturing and business management at Dow Chemical and achieved the position of VP of business development, and I am currently a partner in a respected PE firm.  Thank you very much for being such a positive influence in my life!  Happy Birthday!

Frankie Ko (BS, ChE, 1973)



Professor Bird.
All the best for the best.  I remember outside your door 'The Bird's Nest'  A sign of your talent and skill is TP coming out in 1960 and not needing a new edition for 42 years!!!  What you taught me has lasted all my life... 32 years at DuPont and 12 years at James Madison University.  On Wisconsin

G. Kenneth Lewis, Jr.
BSChE U Wisconsin 1963
Ph.D. U Illinois 1968


Best wishes on your 90th birthday.  Enjoy it to the fullest. 

Thanks for helping to establish the premier world-wide reputation of Chemical and Biological Engineering at the University of Wisconsin.

Don Baldovin

 

 

Dear Prof. Bird,
Congratulations and best wishes on your 90th birthday! It was a privilege to learn from you in the late 1980s and early 1990s at UW. I remember your giving me a bag of M&Ms stapled to a handwritten note as a special gift for doing well on the final exam in one of your polymeric fluid dynamics courses (I ate the M&Ms but still have the note!!). Another fond memory is when Peyman Pakdel and I separately taught substitute classes for you while you were travelling occasionally one semester -- you treated us to lunch afterwards at a nice restaurant, remarking ""A^2, B^2, and P^2 are off to have a 'square' meal"". All the best and may you ever stay young!
Atul Athalye, PhD ChE 1993 (under  ENL)

 

 

Dear Prof. Bird,
even though I never had a class with you I still remember very well the interesting conversations about divers topics - especially the ones in your office. You not only taught us Chemical Engineering facts & figures, you taught us much more!
Thank you very much for being such a great source of inspiration!
Happy Birthday and best regards,
Dr.-Ing. Elmar Stumpf
German M. Sc. student at UW 1992/93
currently working in Nanjing, China

 

Plenty are societal needs
answers affordable is the need.
Olde che brought many a solution
by setting some methods in motion.
Based they were on wizened experience
but, a pity they were full of empiricism.
Many a formulae one had to mug
since there appeared no method to hug.
Out flew Bird, with a span so great,
accompanied by Stewart and Lightfoot,
note there  is always a triumvirate,
brought unity and order with Phenomena Transport.
It was a Kuhnian revolution
that swept the entire profession.
Profession, taller it stood with perspective no less,
to unify with new neighbours borderless,
ever more confident to play its rightful role
to give clean air water and food for all.
K.S. Gandhi

 

I'm sorry I can't make it, but Happy Birthday!  I feel fortunate that I can count myself amongst those who had a chance to spend 2 weeks canoeing with "Uncle Bob" in Canada.  All my best,
Tom Culp, Ph.D. 1998
(and canoeist 1995)

 

 

Happy Birthday Prof. Bird! I hope you have a wonderful one and many more to come!
I still have my BSL copy which I referred to multiple times when I was in industry; I also used it when I TAed Transport Phenomena earlier this fall, the students loved it!
Thanks for everything!
Samer Alam

 

 

 

Dear Prof. Bob Bird,  Wish you a very Happy birthday and many more years in service of education.
I remember my association with you when I took up ChE 120 (Application of Maths to Ch. Engineering) for my MS in 1956-57.

You used to come early at 6 am and write down what you were to teach on that day, take out ammonia prints (no xerox in those days) and distribute at 7 am while the papers were still warm and smelling of ammonia.

Your hard working habits, your academic brilliance and your sincerity inspired me all my life. Thank you.
Ramesh Bakshi (MS 1957) in Mumbai, India.

 

 

Greetings Prof Bird,

I took your Macromolecular Hydrodynamics class in 1985.  It’s interesting the kind of things one remembers after many years.  I only vaguely recall the course topics, but vividly remember the first day of class and a fellow student from Southeast Asia.  He was sitting alone, and looked unsettled in a new culture far from home.  You walked in, and before starting class put him quite at ease by striking up a casual conversation … in his native language!  A thoughtful act, and awesome ability.

I’m looking forward to your birthday bash.  The limerick below is a twist on the children’s song “I’m My Own Grandpa” about an adult son and his widower father who marry a widow and her adult daughter, respectively.  I hope you enjoy it.  See you on the 30th!

In the family/college analogy,
I’ve a bifurcated genealogy.
The two Bobs in my tree,
Yield paradox for me,
From a pre-grad-school class in rheology.

As an undergraduate at the U,
Bird’s 525 course did I pursue.
Then thesis with Armstrong
(Bird’s own “son” all along).
One might almost say I’m my own “nephew”.

Sans a parallel world how did I exist,
To meet my own “Grandpa” the rheologist,
Prior to my own “birth”?
Oh well, for what it’s worth,
I’ve but one sentiment, and here is the gist …

Bob, thank you so much for all that you have done.
Another like you, I have never met one.
I’m so happy to say,
“Happy 90th Birthday”,
To the man who made elasticity fun!
"Grandson" Paul Northey
BS UW-Madison 1985
PhD MIT (Armstrong) 1991

 

 

 

Dear Professor Bird,

First of all, gelukkige 90ste verjaardag!

I wrote to you back around 1998 asking for your advice on mathematical modelling of pulsatile blood flow in small arteries. Being on expat assignment in The Netherlands, I fondly recall your kind reply to my michael.wolf@medtronic.nl address – which you wrote entirely in Dutch! I had to ask my Dutch colleagues to interpret your ‘spraakzaam’ reply, to which one remarked ‘who is this man who speaks such fine Dutch!  We continued our exchange, fortunately in English, and you kindly sent me a copy of your book written some years earlier on sabbatical in Holland (Een Goed Begin: a Contemporary Dutch Reader).  Thanks again.

You are the consummate teacher Professor Bird, and many thanks for this fond memory and for all that you have done to help educate others.  Here’s a fine birthday poem for you:

Nacht of avond, middag of morgen
Maak je om de tijd geen zorgen
Kraaienpoten, grijze haren
Laat je drijven door de jaren
En heb je lak aan de kalender
Als je maar kunt zeggen:
Ik ben d’r
(Toon Hermans)

All the best,

Michael F. Wolf
Scientist and Technical Fellow, Medtronic Inc.
BSChE 88

 

 

 

 

 

Birthday Greetings to Bob Bird
Happy 90th Birthday.  The years alone are a great achievement, but we are celebrating all the achievements that originated from you.  I am sorry that I cannot take the time off and travel from Germany to Wisconsin.

I remember Prof. Bird most clearly as the guide to the subject of rheology.  I remember it as a subject full of surprising, almost spooky effects, and very complex mathematics.

Paul T. Noble
Ph.D 1981 under Ed Lightfoot

 

 

 

Dear Prof. Bird,

Happy 九十大壽

Gerald Liu, P. Eng.
Chairman, ISA 75

 

 

 

 

I remember your love and generosity.  It stands out among the people I have met.

Tim Mathis

 

 

 

Dear Dr. Bird,

It was a joy to study and learn Transport Phenomena from your text book in my undergraduate years. It was even more special to come to Wisconsin and take your graduate level class - an honor and privilege for any Cheme in the world! Your classes were inspiring, entertaining and thought provoking. Never complained about waking up at 7 am in the Wisconsin winter to attend your class. It was also a great joy and honor to go with you on the Fall hike, what a great memory to have! You have truly been an inspiration and role model for all of us. I wish you a Happy Birthday and hope you have many more years of good health and spirits!

Kamal Gursahani
MS 2001
Chevron

 

 

 

Congratulations on your 90th birthday, Professor Bird!
May your birthday be full of happiness and blessings.

Happy Birthday again!

Kyu Yong Choi
University of Maryland

 

 

 

Wishing a very Happy Birthday to a great Teacher, Scholar, and Supreme Aficionado of the cultures of the world. My experience at Wisconsin has been greatly enriched by my interactions with you.

Thank you for setting such a great examples to many generations,

Fouad Teymour (UW PhD 1989)
Illinois Institute of Technology

 

 

 

Dear Professor Bird,
Congratulations on your 90th Birthday! Unfortunately I can’t make it to Madison from Brussels, but I will promise to be there for your 100th!

I was lucky enough to attend two of your courses – Macromolecular Hydrodynamics as a student and the famous 320, Transport Phenomena, as TA. Today a big part of my job is developing technical trainings, so everything you taught me is still very relevant, although I am still striving to copy your amazing ability to make the most complex concepts sound simple and easy to understand.

If there is one trait that really set you apart, it was your ability to both do outstanding original research AND be such an amazing and popular lecturer with both grads and undergrads.  Or perhaps what set you apart even more was your incomparable range of non-engineering-related talents. I recall you explaining the Japanese writing system to the TA’s during one meeting (!!), and composing and performing the memorable Scherzo in L minor during a ChEGS Christmas Talent Show. And then there was the day I discovered that you had written one of the text-books we were using in our Dutch class! There was literally no limit to your talents! (unfortunately, there is a serious limit to my talents, as the ""poem"" below demonstrates, but I think you were always a fan of bad poetry!)
Have a great celebration weekend! Veel succes voor de volgende 90 jaar!
Denis

One day Stewart and Lightfoot and Bird,
Re-wrote Chem E. from scratch – how absurd!
50 years have gone by,
In the blink of an eye,
But BSL is still the last word.

Bob had too many talents, it’s true,
He’d make you think, but make you laugh too,
Languages he spoke fifty,
On piano he was nifty,
We just marveled at all he could do!

He wrote books of extreme ingenuity,
About mass, momentum, continuity,
Macromolecular Hydrodynamics,
Transport Phenomena, Fluid Mechanics,
Now his name will live in perpetuity!

Denis O'Sullivan

 

 

Dear Professor Bird:

I am a proud graduate of the ChE class of 1969 (Mid-Year January Graduate) and my only regret in my time at the Engineering school is that I never had the privilege to have you as an instructor.  However, I always felt that in my course in Transport Phenomena with your textbook close at hand that you were in fact my professor since your energy and enthusiasm seemed to be conveyed through my professors whom you mentored.  I was fortunate to have had the enlightened teachings from Professors Hill, Neill, Altpeter, Chapman et. al. who were instrumental in my time at UofW in emphasizing attention to detail and never accepting any ""mysteries"" -- there was always an answer in the fundamentals of chemical engineering.

Thank you very much for your long and devoted service to the University and to the young men and women who came to our engineering classes trying to understand what chemical engineering was all about.  You were a great positive influence on all those people and that is only one of your many legacies of which you can be so proud on your 90th birthday.  My dear friend and roommate at U of W,. Dick Antoine, I'm sure joins me in my congratulatory thoughts at this time.  We labored together long over your tough Transport Phenomena problems and somehow found our way through those to understand the broader discipline that you were trying to instill in your students through logical thinking and problem solving.  That discipline served me well in my engineering career leading onto international marketing and sales in which those guiding principles still applied so well.

Thank you again for your untiring service to the profession of Chemical Engineering and to all of your students who will always remember you as someone who gave so much of himself not only to his profession but to his students who owe you so much.

With very best wishes on your 90th Birithday Celebrations,

Jim Engebretson
ChE Class of Jan. 1969

 

 

 

A Most Happy Birthday to you.  I am before your time, a graduate in Chemical Engineering in 1955.  But in many instances since that time,  I have been most impressed by your research and your writings.  Thank you for all you have done over the years, bringing respect and acclaim to University of Wisconsin Chemical Engineering Education..

James F. Laundrie

 

 

 

Dear Dr. Bird,

I learned the fundamentals of chemical engineering with your Transport Phenomena book as an undergraduate and supplemented my knowledge with one of your graduate classes.  I appreciated your diverse interests and enjoyed some of your hikes with the graduate students at scenic Devil's Lake State Park.  Congratulations on your prolific life at age 90.

Dr. Alan Dale Schmidt

 

 

 

Happy Birthday Prof. Bird.

Your book and courses helped understand Chem. Engg. fundamentals.

That understanding is now aiding in creation of medical devices that make a difference, and save lives of millions of people around the globe.

Thank you, and wishing more birthday's come!

Umang Nagpal

 

 

 

Dear Prof Bird,

Wishing you a very happy 90th birthday! It has been an honour to know you and learn from you while I was a student at UW Madison. The words above your office door - ' Eschew Obfuscation' are ones that I remember often when having to solve any problem.

Love from India
Sunil Sunkara

 

 

 

Happy 90th Birthday, Professor Bird!

I have great memories of first period classes (7:45 !!  Are you kidding?) where you were the only one truly awake and cheerful, of your beautiful handwriting on the chalk board, of how you would erase and re-write an equation if it wasn’t perfectly straight across the board, and of how you could draw a perfect circle with one graceful sweep of your arm.  It all made perfect sense when you explained it.  It was only later, when trying to do the homework problems, that I realized how difficult it was.  In honor of this birthday, I submit this poem, in my favorite haiku form:

Early morning class
Bird makes it look so easy
How’d that go again?

Warm wishes,
Vicky Hagens

 

 

 

Dear Professor Bird:

You have been an inspiration to me during my graduate study at Madison, although I had not taken any class from you or were directely supervised by you. I used to work in the lab right across the hallway from your office. Once I heard the radio in your office (even from the other end of the hallway), I knew you were at work. It might be early morning, daytime or even late evening. I was amazed at how dedicated you were to science and how much time you spend at work. Then I would feel motivated to keep working, thanks to you!

I wish you will always be happy and joyful and keep infecting others with your happiness and dedication. With that, I am sure everything will be better tomorrow!

Dr. Xin Xiang Wang, PhD'06

 

 

 

Dear Bob,

90 years!  Time flies when you are having fun, and you always said that what we do should be meaningful and fun.  Just one-half of your life ago, I finished up my PhD with you.  While my interests drifted rather far from chemical engineering and the disk and cylinder system, the habits of mind you so ably taught have stood me well in my career in science policy:  Read the classics.  Work through all the details.  Look for the commonalities.  Tackle workable problems.  Make reasonable simplifications.  Be alert to phunny phenomena.  Go to foreign lands.  Spend time in the woods.

I won't be able to join you and all your friends at your celebration.  I will be on assignment in Riyadh that week for SRI International and could not find a workable way to get back to Madison in time. 

Thanks for giving so much of yourself to all of us.

Best wishes and Happy Birthday!

Chris Hill
Ph.D. 1969
Emeritus Professor of Public Policy and Technology
George Mason University

 

 

 

Professor Bird,

Congratulations on your 90th birthday!  And thank you for being an integral part in my receiving an outstanding Chemical Engineering education.

Doug Weiss

 

 

 

I once had a Professor called Bird
For a special topics in Chemical Engineering class, perhaps you have heard

He helped write the book, in the Forward is a code
On Wisconsin, it begins, hope yours hasn't been sold

His classes were a joy, every minute prepared
This Professor Bird was quite special, I'd say quite rare

And so Happy Birthday Professor Bird, I'm glad I got to know
A bit of Japanese, to say Dōmo arigatō

Lawrence Jassin BS ChE '83

Happy Birthday Bob. You made our ChemE degree from Wisconsin very valuable and it opened many doors for my career. Thanks.

Tom Ginzl

 

 

 

Dear Professor Bird,

It has been so many years since I "" enjoyed "" Transport Phenomena, but I was able to survive calculating the size of a drop of lead falling into a water bath etc. on one of the exams.

Yes, believe it or not, I did finally graduate and move on to a very satisfying career with E.I. Du Pont de Nemours and Co. Inc.

I want to thank you for your contributions to the University, Chemical Engineering and all the students that have had the honor of being in your classes.

Happy Birthday and thanks!!!

All the best,

Larry Fassett
BS-Che '66

 

 

 

We are well aware
of 90 years of R B sqare.

His courses were crystalclear,
but he never drinks beer.
He prefers apples and cheese
and he collected honorary degrees!

His outdoor habits are striking
when he goes out hiking and biking.
Canoeing in Canada or Devils Lake:
it keeps him awake.

He translates very much
into German, French, Japanese and Dutch.
He is a helpful friend to his peers
But what will he do in the next 10 years??

Boudewijn van Nederveen

 

 

 

Dear Professor Bird,

Wishing you a most happy 90th!  I’m sorry that obligations here will prevent me from being able to convey my congratulations in person, in Madison… but trust me, this celebration is one of the VERY few things that could tempt me to return to Wisconsin in January!

I wanted to thank you again for everything I learned in CHE 525 and CHE 725, as well as for your service as a member of my thesis committee, which made my Ph.D. studies all the more memorable.  And indeed, I do still crack open my copies of DPL and the “original” Transport Phenomena (autographed!) more than occasionally.  My very best wishes to you,

Rick Register, Ph.D. 1989
Princeton University (one floor down from Bob Prud’homme)

 

 

 

Happy 90th Birthday, Bob!  Thanks for all you've done to train and inspire the next generation of Chemical Engineers.

Joseph B. Powell, Ph.D.
Shell Chief Scientist -- Chemical Engineering

 

 

 

Happy Birthday RB^2!  I'm saddened that I will not be able to attend the celebrations, but I offer up these remembrances of my times in Madison to add to the festivities and hopefully jog your memory a bit.  Of all the interactions we had, of all the inspirations you provided to me, these are the most precious.
The Quetico canoe trip with Jim Silver, Sanjay Sharma, you and me in the summer of 1990 (?) was one of the greatest outdoor experiences I ever had.  I've posted a few photos of that trip here:

www.pbase.com/bmitche1/bob_bird_90th

I recall that it rained the entire first week, but the second week was glorious.  You also gave me two tangible gifts that I hold and cherish to this day.  The first is a copy of your Dutch reader book "Een Goed Begin..." It certainly was!  The other was a collection of your piano compositions.  I've enjoyed playing many of them over the years, but my absolute favorite is ""End of a Rain Squall and Loon Calls on Cullen Lake.""  When I play it, I not only think of you, but the Quetico trip and my many friends from UW.  Your talents as an engineer are unparalleled, but when I think of Bob Bird, I think of the polyglot, musician and outdoorsman.  Thanks for giving me a little part of each!

Brian S. Mitchell
PhD, 1991

 

 

 

As a Ch E 1960, I wish I could again attend Bob Bird's lecture on MASS TRANSFER. He somehow someway related to the life of MOZART and lectured on the life MOZART for the entire class...talk about unique, interesting and ingenious ...BOB BIRD is my ENGINEERING MOZART...

Emer Schaefer

 

 

 

Bob - - I would like to take this opportunity again to thank you for the inspiration that you were to my class of students and to several generations, and for making mass, momentum and heat transfer so easy to understand; thanks too for the hikes that you led.

R. Fenton-May (PhD '71)

 

 

 

Dear Bob:

On your 90th birthday, I wrote a poem in Chinese, inspired by your Transport Phenomena text book.  It's a seven character quatrain, which was popular in the Tang Dynasty. I will first write in Chinese, followed by annotation and a rough translation in English.  (If your computer cannnot display Chinese characters, I will send a PDF.)

博學傳輸啟天下    
德高望眾服儒林    
鵬程萬里質守恆   
動見觀瞻塑無量   

博德 (1st characters in the 1st and 2nd sentences) = Bob Bird’s Chinese name
傳輸 (3rd and 4th characters in the first sentence) = Transport
鵬 (1st character in the third sentence) = a big bird
動量 (1st and last character in the 4th sentence) = Momentum,
質量 (5th character in the 3rd sentence and the last character in the 4th sentence) = Mass, 質 also means quality
守恆 (last two characters in third sentence) = Conservation

Translation:

His erudition in transport enlightens the world
His esteemed virtues lead the scholarly horde
Intellectual rigor sustained through illustrious career
With his acts and visions, guidance to countless afford.

Jim Liao
Professor, UCLA

 

 

 

I will always remember the first time I met Dr. Bird in 1974.  I was a new chemical engineering graduate student at Madison working one evening in one of the offices in the main Engineering Building.  A man in bib overalls came in with a box of apples and offered me one.  I assumed he was one of the janitors, given his unacademic and unpretentious appearance.  Then without missing a beat, he started to speak in seemingly polished German to the German post-doc who was the other person in the room.  It was only the first of a number of times when Dr. Bird would surprise and impress me. 

He gave a special fluid flow presentation that I attended.  It was possibly the best lecture I had ever heard.  He started with ordinary experiences and then led the audience into understanding less intuitive concepts.  It was inspirational to me because I had a chemistry undergraduate degree and was still trying to understand where chemical engineering fit in the world.

I never had a course from Dr. Bird, but we talked regularly about a number of shared interests.  At the time, he and I both enjoyed lake canoing trips into the north woods.  During my stay in Madison, I went canoeing with some non-Madison friends 140 miles north of Thunder Bay.  We were north of any roads or railroads in Ontario and often times saw no one else some days.  We met Dr. Bird half way across a lake with another group.  He had told me about this place some months earlier, but it was still an amazing meeting given that neither of us knew of the other's plans and the expanse of wilderness.

I think Dr. Bird influenced many more students than the typical professor because he was such a easy person to get to know and had such a wide range of interests at the time.  I felt fortunate to have known him during my stay the U. of W. because of his friendship and knowledge of ChemE.  Because of his influence, I thought there was a good chance that I was switching into the right field for me.  After working as a chemical engineer for 37 years, I believe I made the right choice.

Happy Birthday Bob.

Douglas Hubbell

 

 

 

Al maestro con cariño

Reza el titulo en español de una pelicula del gran actor Sidney Pointier. Que me mejor homenaje  para quien es y sera un referente en el tema de fenomenos de transporte y otros propios de la ingenieria Quimica. Desde Lima Peru en latinoamerica, queremos decirle al profesor . Bod Bird que los que fuimos estudiantes de ingenieria quimica y hoy somos profesionales graduados, le estamos muy agradecidos por su obra. Ojala algun dia pueda aceptar nuestra invitacion y visitarnos
Feliz dia Bob. y que Dios les de muchos años de vida mas

eliz cumpleaños Bob y que seab muchos mas

Gilberto Salas Colotta

 

 

 

Bob,

I wanted to share a few things with you and the other alumni to celebrate this wonderful occasion of your 90th birthday.  Meeting you was memorable; my entry into the department as a new graduate student in January 1980 was turbulent.  The department graduate class offerings were limited in the spring semester, the university had not yet even admitted me as a student due to some bureaucratic error, it was cold, etc.  But I had signed up for your ChE 660 (math) class.  You came in bright and early Monday morning for the first lecture and opened the window. I didn't know any of the graduate students in the class yet, and I was sitting off to the side of the room, by myself.  But at the end of that one lecture, I remember thinking, OK, now I know why I am here.  This guy can teach!  What stood out immediately was the precision and the clarity of your lectures.

As my years in graduate school went by, whenever you taught a graduate class, I signed up.  I wasn't overly concerned about the course topic, and trusted you to make it interesting and share some valuable insight. And you never disappointed. I can only thank my PhD advisor, Harmon Ray,
for not objecting to the large number of classes that I was taking while he was paying for me to do research.

Later you invited me on one of your canoe trips to the Quetico, which was simply a fantastic experience. And when I came back to Madison and joined the department as a faculty  member, we got to take another canoe trip together.  You were always so generous with your time.

Reading Frankie Ko's comments about what you told him after he received a C in one of your courses, reminds me of the following exchange that took place in your office.  You had presented in lecture an argument by Maxwell on how to calculate the thermal conductivity of a mixture of two materials. Despite your beautiful presentation, I was not very happy with the argument.  I came to your office and started explaining why this derivation was not very convincing. You patiently explained it again.  I objected some more, even more strenuously.  You looked at your watch. I wasn't taking the hint.  More objections. Finally you sighed and said, "I think you are going to have to take that up with Maxwell." Perfect message, perfectly delivered!

James B. Rawlings, PhD, 1985

 

 

 

Dear Bob

Greetings form Carnegie Mellon and all the best wishes for your 90th birthday! Fond memories and gratitude recall my time spent at Wisconsin, both for graduate study and for a short stay in 2009. In both occasions I will always cherish our meetings and chats on the department, but also on literature and languages, laced with elegant German verses.

It is with considerable regret that I am unable to attend your celebration at Wisconsin, due to a prior commitment in Germany. Nevertheless, I am very pleased that my colleague, Shelley Anna, will represent Carnegie Mellon, along with alumni Ross Swaney and Christos Maravelias.

With heartfelt congratulations on your 90th and with deep appreciation of your many contributions to Wisconsin, I remain

Yours faithfully,

Larry Biegler
Bayer University Professor and Head
Chemical Engineering Dept.
Carnegie Mellon University
Pittsburgh, PA 15213

 

 

To Bob;
The Passionate Teacher
The Poetry of Passion
Happy 90th and many more.

"You wouldn't remember me
one of many in the academic sea,
but toil I did in the Red Bible, TP
with dreams of grandeur and an engineering degree."

Your presentations made it look so easy but caused much consternation later when trying to do the homework and tests reminding me of  another great teacher and author, Philip Gillett - UWMC-1964. For all that I thank you. Your enlightenment of the day brings to mind an episode of StarTrek in which Albert Einstein, Isaac Newton, Stephen Hawkin and Data are playing poker on the holodeck of the Enterprise and discussing the state of the Universe!
Roger L. Deffner, Esq.
UW - B.S.ChE '68, J.D. "73"

 

 

Bob has a strong interest in languages, particularly Japanese. With that in mind I’d like to offer this little poem for the occasion.

Poem in Honor of Bob Bird’s Ninetieth Birthday

There once was a Bird with nary a feather,
Who loved to put different ideas together.
His books cover topics so many and varied,
The complete set of volumes can hardly be carried.

For his career engineering’s his focus,
But in several languages he likes to make “jokes.” 
(pronounced “jocus”)
Bob relishes work, but has time for fun:
A canoe trip, a puzzle, or even a pun.

Over the years Bob has served as a mentor
To many a scholar, engineer, and inventor.
For all that you do and for all that you know
We gratefully say, “a-ri-ga-tō.”

James L. Davis
Professor and Director, Technical Japanese Program
Dept. of Engineering Professional Development
University of Wisconsin-Madison

 

 

Dear TORI-SENSEI (Prof. Bird):

Congratulations for your 90-th birthday!

Your continuous contribution to chemical engineering society of Japan is so outstanding. Especially, the introduction of “Transport Phenomena”, during your visit to Kyoto and Nagoya 1962 -63, lead to new opening of the academic basis for the unit operations. I was a sophomore student at Kyoto University, so I did not attend your classes then. However, I eventually chose UW when I decided to study abroad, starting October 1965. The so well organized lecture of “Transport Phenomena” opened my eyes widely and I enjoyed it very much. We did not work together for research (I worked with the late Prof. E. J. Crosby) but you gave me such strong influence, during my stay at UW (1965-72) and thereafter, to my future carrier. Even these days, you send me the Season’s Greeting card with quizzes in Japanese. I enjoy them so much every year.

Congratulations again for the blessed 90-th birthday and your outstanding carrier!

Masataka Tanigaki
Professor Emeritus
Kyoto University

 

 

Happy 90th Birthday Bob! 

I wish I was there to celebrate with you.  Good memories, going on Bird hikes, secret hidden phrases in your textbooks and some days walking to campus with you if you were in the area.

The old horse knows the way.

Dan Patience, Ph.D. 2002

 

 

Dear Professor Bird,
I am one of the many students that graduated from the department that you helped to make world famous.  I came back home to Wisconsin, transferring from Notre Dame, to get my BS Chem Eng,.  Fifty countries of travel later, I still see your book on the shelves of engineers around the world.  And I recruited many a Badger Chem E to follow my path as well.  Thank you for the opportunity that you afforded to me, and the fun invitation to comment with a poem:

Like Mao’s Red Book, Transport Phenomena required,
That student studies become both passionate and inspired.
For there’s more to be transferred than heat, momentum and mass,
Most important is KNOWLDEGE from professor to Chem E class.
Badger engineers need to study most intensely, but to take breaks in between,
Like a jaunt down State Street, for example, on a cool Halloween. 
And is Bird’s (plus Stewart’s and Lightfoot’s) technological theory transferred?
Just look to the world to see what challenges have been answered!
Thanks to exemplary knowledge and leadership of minds rational,
The tools to create and apply have spread to a stage international.

Patrick O. Sajbel
BSChE Class of 1980

 

 

Happy 90th Birthday Bob! 

I hope you make it to your 3-digit prime number birthday with flying colors and much enjoyment.  We often enjoyed celebrating our prime number birthdays with extra gusto in our family growing up.   Dad always enjoyed tying events into interesting math quirks.

It doesn't seem that many years ago that you canoed into our family cabin in northwestern Ontario.  I have always admired your combination of lifelong interests in engineering, math and the outdoors.  I remember looking at maps of Canada and followed the rivers you had canoed on. 

One of the stories my dad told me involved a certain river you were canoeing on in Canada.  As he told it to me, you had been canoeing all morning and you decided to take a lunch break.  You pulled your canoe up to a rock by the river and got out to eat your lunch.  As you were sitting there looking at the river, a big whirlpool appeared just downstream from the rock that would have swallowed anything that had passed over it and then it disappeared and the water became smooth again.  After awhile, the same phenomenon occurred again.  Through luck or sixth sense, you avoided a watery end that day and enjoyed the rest of your trip down that river.  Knowing you Bob, I suspect that your reaction was not to be scared, but feeling lucky to have witnessed that event and then wondering what the various forces and rock resisters were at work under the river surface that were present to have caused that kind of unusual phenomenon to occur on a periodic basis. 

I know of at least one other near death experience you had that involved the icy cold of winter on a hike and being saved by a dog investigating what you were doing on the ground.  I am sure you have other tales of close calls in your extensive outdoor adventures.  Somehow you have navigated through all the outdoor adventures you welcomed in your life and survived to your current 90 years of age.  You welcome challenges and have lived life to its fullest in everything you do.   

My Dad counted you among his best of friends and you have been like a member of our family to us for 50 years or so.  I am 59 years old now and I remember you going on outdoor walks with my dad when I was a kid, so it must be at least that many years.   

We all wish you the best and much joy in celebrating with your friends and colleagues your 90th birthday!

Millard W. Johnson  III

 

 

Poem for Prof. Bird on the occasion of his 90th birthday:

博  学  多  才 Knowledgeable and erudite
德  高  望  重 Prestigious and respected
教  诲  谆  谆 You teach with patience and passion
授  人  以  渔 Your wisdom is passed on to generations
高  山  仰  止 The height of mountains cannot measures our admiration
寿  比  南  山 For as long as mountains live we hope to have you as companion

戴干策
Gan-ce Dai
worked with Prof. Bird 1979
professor emeritus at East China University of Science and Technology

 

 

Bob,
In a sense our first “course” taken from you was back, I think, in the late summer of 1965. It was taken as a family, fresh from England – a field trip for “Camping & Canoeing 101” in the Black River State Forest.  As a tribute to you and your many & various acts of kindness to our family for over close to 50 years, I offer this meager poem:

From lake to lake
as you do snake
by daily paddle-power transported
and by biting bug on portage thwarted
- perhaps feeling a little terse?
Then consider this humble verse.

In days of yore
(but not before!)
from the Quetico to the Yukon
you may have had cause to look upon
but better yet
may even met
a canoe paddler most professorial
in elegant north-woods style sartorial.

He may have caste to you a rhyme
in the tongue of your native clime.
For sure, from him puzzles do diffuse
aimed much to stimulate and amuse.

Affectionately we call R B squared.
He, advisor, for many students cared.
During years of twenty six plus four cubed
Well-known advances he has led and lubed!

With paddle he doth no more roam.
You can still find him so “at home”
under the huge star-spangled banner
awaiting Perkins' special manna
at table with napkin ready and unfurled
upon which to jot - ideas for the world.

When, under the great Northern sky you camp and canoe,
recall the great academician who paddled through.

Keith B. Lodge
Chemical Engineering, The University of Minnesota Duluth

 

 

Dear Bob:

¡¡¡ FELIZ CUMPLEAÑOS !!!   My warmest wishes for a very happy celebration on the occasion of your 90th birthday!. I feel sorry for not being able to greet you personally, but we are too far away and the winter time is very rough in Madison this year.

Have a great celebration, my congratulations to the department and my best wishes for you.

Letter to Bob

José Coca Prados 
University of Oviedo
SPAIN

 

 

Dear Professor R. B. Bird,
Life is what we make of it -
and what a life you've made.
Your impact on the chemical engineering profession -
in teaching, research and textbook publishing, there is no debate.
Your interest in the wellbeing of students, professors and staff
is a wonderful example for all to emulate.
We honor you on this day
for nine decades of a remarkable escapade.
Thank you for enriching my life and that of many others.

Victor A. Atiemo-Obeng
1975 PhD at UW-Madison with Ed Lightfoot

 

 

Dear Prof. Bird,

Happy 90th Birthday! Thank you for your teaching and inspirations.
Here is something from the memory bank.

I remember when you came to visit me in Maine
In the Spring, when I started working at UMaine.
We climbed up Cadillac Mountain
To view a panorama of Acadia for certain;
Oops! Found out we could have driven up that terrain.

I am looking forward for the big party.

Albert Co

 

 

IT WAS JUST A QUIZ

It was Spring, I believe, 1970
We were growing
Bird called us to attention
A Quiz awaited
Framing the page, a Japanese truth
Pearls of wisdom
“To ask is but a moment of shame.
To not ask is an eternity of shame.”
We Thought…
The Quiz challenged our comprehension
We Thought…
Could it be he wants to test our courage?
No, not-possible!
But the first question was im-possible
So, my hand shot up
“Professor Bird, this question is incomprehensible!”
Silence…

It’s winter 2014, no doubt!
We have grown, but spring awaits
I don’t remember what he said
I do know what I learned
Growth begins with shameless questioning
The We pushing the limits
And from the Courage to question
Comes the courage to live fully
Fully, as RB Bird's
Thank You Professor Bird
On Wisconsin!

Steve Harms
BS ChE, Class 1971

 

 

Dear Bob,

Happy 90th birthday! I remember well your love for and insight into poetry in the strange language of the Danish! I imagine that you still keep your book of poems by Danish author and mathematician Piet Hein. As an example of Piet Heins grooks I hope you may enjoy this one:

"The way to grow grand
is not: to demand.
In life's every field
you are what you yield."

Many greetings,
Dr. Ole Holm Nielsen
Technical University of Denmark

 

 

Happy 90th birthday, Bob! Those who know only your work know you as a brilliant scientist, prolific writer, and polyglot. We who know you personally also know you are a decent human being, had genuine concern for your students, and are at ease conversing with world-class scientists or small children. Thanks for your guidance, your example, your friendship, and the New Year fugues and puzzles.

Barb Yarusso

 

 

Hi Prof. Bob,

Many Happy Returns of the Day.

Hrishikesh Kharbas

 

 

Dear Bob,

Hard to collapse a world of lessons, thoughts, teachings and advises in few lines. Your work has inspired many and has created many amazing scientists; you had provided novel lines of thoughts and research novelties. Your philosophy provides ""modern Chemical Engineering"".

On this day, the only thing I can say is thank you very much and congratulations!

I will never forget your Spanish and Portuguese HELLOs on the CBE halls during my pos-doct, where Dumesic, Chris Stolz, you and me were the only ones at 6:30 a.m. every day on the 3rd floor, :).

Best, Juanito

PS: Still finding errors in my book, :(

Juanito Hernandez-Ortiz

 

 

Dear Professor Bird:

Best birthday wishes.

I remember with great fondness my years at UW, 1972-76. Among your many contributions to my memories was your impeccably organized course in advanced transport phenomena. The text was G. K. Batchelor's An Introduction to Fluid Dynamics, which still sits on my bookshelf, next to a well worn copy of Transport Phenomena.

Thank you for your contributions to my graduate education.

Gene Tunison

 

 

Happy 90th Birthday, Professor Bird.  Your books, papers, and articles have been a source of constant inspiration in my research career.

Rajamani Krishna

 

 

On the Occasion of Bob Bird's 90th Birthday

Well, your birthday has come again
You can't avoid it, there’s no cure.
Bring on the party and speeches
There are some things you must endure.

You should try to be a good sport
Your friends and colleagues all mean well.
By the time they are done with you
You'll be ready for a padded cell.

They will praise you, they will glaze you
With honors and tributes galore.
Some will write you bad poetry
Something they have no talent for.

So why all the fuss for one day?
And what are we trying to say?
Here’s the lesson I want to teach
You’re a great guy, a real peach.

I certainly owe you a debt
One that I can never repay
You've been a teacher, a mentor,
And a friend, I'm grateful to say.

We want you to know that you've touched us
You've enlightened our minds, it's true.
You have shared with us your wisdom
And our many thanks are overdue.

Our birthday gift is our esteem
Our admiration we must show
With so many friends who admire you
You are the richest man I know.

Lew Wedgewood, PhD 1988 (with RBB)

 

 

Prof Bird,

After 40 plus years, I still have my copy of Transport Phenomena. It sits on my living room book shelves. My friends, none of whom are engineers still pause in awe as they pass. Thanks for all you gave.

Hank Zimmerman BSNE 1972

 

 

Dear Bob,

Χρονια Πολλα και Καλα για τα γενεθλια σου. Ευχαριστω για το outstanding mentorship και friendship. Also for the numerous English lessons over all these years at Wisconsin.

Manos Mavrikakis

 

 

A short limerick inspired by the article in CoE "Perspectives."

There was a young man named Bird
Enticed by the foreign word.
When his father said nix,
He invented new tricks
At the front of the ChE herd.

Len Rothfeld, MS '56, PhD '61

 

 

Madison
(met verskoning aan A. D. Keet)

Ou Madison is tog so mooi
Wisconsin kleur is orals rooi
In bitterkoue nagte.
Dis leraars hier, studente daar,
Wat luister wat oom Bob verklaar
Oor elke slim gedagte.

'n Honderd duisend ingenieurs
Leer steeds van drie beroemd' outeurs
Hoe stof en meer vervoer word.
Maar dit is net Een Goed Begin
Sy bydrae sluit die wêreld in
En niks sal ooit verloor word.

Dis eienskap van gas en vloei-
Stof, kraal en veertjie uitgetooi
En toestandvergelykings.
So Voël, ons sê veels geluk
Vir neëntig jaar van meesterstuk
En al jou groot bereikings!

Bramie

A. M. Lenhoff
University of Delaware