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Release: Immediate

UI engineering professor Louis Landweber dies Jan. 19

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Louis Landweber, 86, professor emeritus of mechanical engineering in the University of Iowa College of Engineering, researcher in the Iowa Institute of Hydraulic Research, member of the National Academy of Engineering, and one of the world's leading ship hydrodynamicists, died Monday, Jan. 19 at Mercy Hospital in Iowa City.

Funeral services will be held at 10 a.m., Thursday, Jan. 22 at Agudas Achim Congregation, 602 E. Washington St. No visitation is scheduled. Memorial donations may be made to the synagogue.

Landweber, who formally retired from teaching in 1982, remained an active researcher and was one of the College of Engineering's most revered teachers. In 1993, The Sixth International Conference on Numerical Ship Hydrodynamics was held in his honor in Iowa City. Attended by more than 100 researchers from the United States and abroad, the conference featured 42 professional papers, including one presented by Landweber himself.

V.C. Patel, director of the Iowa Institute of Hydraulic Research and UI Foundation Distinguished Professor of Mechanical Engineering, noted that Landweber was a superb teacher and researcher, his skills enhanced by his deep integrity, his warmth and caring, and his wonderful humor.

Landweber was born Jan. 8, 1912 in New York City. In 1932 he received a bachelor's degree in mathematics from City College of New York, where he was elected to Phi Beta Kappa. Upon graduation, he was awarded the Ward Medal for Physics and the Belden Prize for Mathematics and Physics, and he accepted a position as junior physicist at the United States Experimental Model Basin at the Washington Navy Yard (later named the David Taylor Naval Ship Research and Development Center). Although, as he recalled in an article in the fall 1994 issue of Iowa Engineer, he "never took an engineering course in my life," he recognized his need for advanced study and began taking evening courses in mathematics and physics while testing models of ships during the daytime. In 1940, he became head of a research group that distinguished itself in war-related research -- mine-sweeping, in particular -- that resulted in his receiving the Navy's Distinguished Meritorious Civilian Service Award in 1947.

Landweber earned his master's degree in physics from George Washington University in 1936 and his doctorate in physics from the University of Maryland in 1951, and, by 1954, he had become head of the hydrodynamics division of the David Taylor Model Basin in Carderock, Maryland.

In 1954, he came to the University of Iowa as a professor of mechanics and hydraulics and research engineer at the Iowa Institute of Hydraulic Research. His many honors included being appointed David W. Taylor Lecturer, named for the country's preeminent naval architect, at the David W. Taylor Naval Ship Research and Development Center and receiving the Davidson Medal, presented by the Society of Naval Architects and Marine Engineers, both in 1978; being honored by a special session at the Third Engineering Mechanics Division Specialty Conference of the American Society of Civil Engineers in 1979; and being named Weinblum Memorial Lecturer for 1981.

In 1980, he was elected to the National Academy of Engineering, the highest professional distinction that can be conferred upon an engineer, for his "research, design, and educational contributions to modern naval architecture and marine engineering."

In addition to his many honors, Landweber supervised more than 50 masters and doctoral students and served as author, co-author or editor of approximately 150 technical papers, reports, monographs and books in the fields of hydrodynamics and naval architecture. His professional affiliations included Fellow of the Society of Naval Architects and Marine Engineers and Fellow of the American Academy of Mechanics.

Landweber is survived by his wife, Mae of Iowa City, two sons and four grandchildren.