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NYU's Computational Wizard Paul Garabedian Dies at 82

June 14, 2010

Paul R. Garabedian, whose computer computations paved the way to fuel-efficient wings on jetliners, died in May 2010. He was 82.

Garabedian lead the division of computational fluid dynamics at NYU's Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences. His simulations in the 1960s and 1970s showed that it was possible to design wings that produced no shock waves.

“That had quite a lot of impact around the industry,” said Antony Jameson (Stanford University), who collaborated with Garabedian on the wing work. The fact that there was a shock-free solution “changed people’s thinking,” Jameson said.

A mathematician for more than 50 years, Garabedian never wrote a computer program, Jameson indicated. Instead, he would write in a 4-inch-by-6-inch notebook, “which none of us ever saw," Jameson said. Colleagues would write the programs.

“His style was kind of astonishing,” Jameson declared.

A member of the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Garabedian received the Birkhoff Prize in Applied Mathematics and the National Academy of Sciences Award in Applied Mathematics and Numerical Analysis. His book Partial Differential Equations (1964) is still in use.

Source: The New York Times (June 4, 2010)

Start Date: 
Monday, June 14, 2010