In memoriam: Arthur Boresi


Arthur Boresi
Arthur Boresi

Professor Emeritus Arthur Peter “Art” Boresi, who served for decades on the theoretical and applied mechanics faculty at UIUC, died February 15 at age 96 in Laramie, Wyoming. Boresi was also a professor emeritus of civil and architectural engineering at the University of Wyoming, Laramie.

At UIUC, Boresi gained considerable teaching experience in mechanics as a teaching assistant while working on his master’s degree, and as an instructor while working on his doctoral degree. Upon earning his doctorate in TAM in September 1953, he began a distinguished 26-year career as a tenure-track faculty member at UIUC, starting as assistant professor. He was promoted to associate professor in 1957 and to full professor in 1959, the position he held until his retirement in 1979. During that time, he offered courses in advanced strength of materials, elasticity, energy methods, theory of shells, thermomechanics, nuclear engineering, stability, dimensional analysis, and continuum mechanics.

More than 20 students earned their doctorates in TAM under Boresi’s guidance. Many of these graduates went on to prominent careers in academia and industry. From 1962 to 1979, he also held a joint appointment in Nuclear Engineering. Students in that department benefited from Art’s dissertation advising as well.

Perhaps Boresi is best known worldwide, however, for the books he wrote or coauthored. His first book, coauthored with his advisor Hank Langhaar, was a two-volume set entitled Engineering Mechanics—Statics and Dynamics (McGraw-Hill, 1959). This treatise was the first on the subject to use vector analysis throughout, and it set the standard for later books by other authors. A later edition of the book, coauthored with Richard J. Schmidt, appeared in 2000.

Boresi's signature book, Elasticity in Engineering Mechanics, was first published in 1965 by Prentice-Hall. Later editions of this popular text appeared in 1974 (with Paul P. Lynn), 1999 (with Ken P. Chong), and 2010 (with Ken P. Chong and James D. Lee).

In 1979, having been associated with UIUC for 37 years as either a student or faculty member, Art retired and moved with his wife, Jean, to Laramie, Wyoming, where he started a second chapter in his long academic service. Art joined the civil and architectural engineering faculty at the University of Wyoming in 1980 and by 1981 had been named head of the department. He held this position for 13 years, retiring from academia again in 1994.

MechSE Professor Emeritus James W. Phillips, working with Boresi’s Wyoming colleagues Dick Schmidt and Ken Chong, collaborated to create a tribute to Professor Boresi, his work, and life, published only in part here. Read the full tribute document here.