In memoriam: MechSE distinguished alumnus Raymond Viskanta


Raymond Viskanta
Raymond Viskanta

MechSE distinguished alumnus Dr. Raymond Viskanta (BSME ’55) passed away on December 27, 2021 in West Lafayette, Indiana. Dr. Viskanta was a world-renowned researcher in the field of heat transfer and a great friend to the MechSE Department at Illinois.

After receiving M.S. and PhD degrees in mechanical engineering at Purdue University, Dr. Viskanta joined Purdue’s faculty in 1962 and was one of the top scholars in the field of heat transfer for decades thereafter. He was internationally known for his work in the field of radiation heat transfer in melting and solidification, heat transfer in porous media, buoyancy-driven systems, and combustion systems.

Dr. Viskanta remained dedicated to the University of Illinois as well, serving on MechSE’s alumni board for many years. In 1999, Dr. Viskanta and his wife, Birute, established the Raymond and Birute Viskanta Scholarship that continues to be awarded annually to deserving MechSE students.

During his career at Purdue University, where he was the W. F. M. Goss Distinguished Professor of Engineering in the School of Mechanical Engineering, Dr. Viskanta amassed an extraordinary record of accomplishments and service. He received recognition over his career not only because of the exceptional quality and productivity of his work, but because of its expansive breadth.  Most of his research was conducted jointly with students.  He guided the work of 64 doctoral, 48 master students and 39 postgraduate researchers. He developed over 540 publications in more than 50 journals in the U.S., Europe, and Japan and presented over 200 keynote papers and invited lectures at national and international conferences, universities, and research institutions.

Among many awards and international recognition, Dr. Viskanta received the U.S. Senior Scientist Award from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundations, was elected member of the U.S. National Academy of Engineering in 1987, and in 1990 as a foreign member of the Lithuanian Academy of Sciences.  He was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Engineering Degree from the Technical University of Munich in 1994 and an Honorary Doctor of Engineering Degree from Purdue University in 2007.

Read his full obituary in the Journal & Courier.