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Fri, Jun 04, 2010

Gone West: Mathematician Dr. Paul Garabedian

His Calculations And Modeling Led To Improved Wing Aerodynamics

Dr. Paul Garabedian (pictured), an innovative mathematician who was among the first to use computer modeling to design a fuel-efficient airplane wing, died May 13th at the age of 82 in New York.

Dr. Garabedian was director of the division of computational fluid dynamics at New York University's Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences. His computer models created in the 1970's showed how to design a wing that produced no supersonic shock waves as the airplane flew at near-supersonic speeds. While those early wings were impractical in actual use, Stanford University engineering professor Antony Jameson, who worked with Garabedian on the project, said it "changed people's thinking" by showing the shock-free wing was possible.

The New York Times reports that he eventually left the aerodynamic field to work on improved magnetic containment for nuclear fusion in power plants, which he continued until his death.

Garabedian was born in Cincinnati in 1927 and home-schooled by his Harvard-educated parents. He is survived by his wife, two daughters, and two grandchildren.

FMI: www.cims.nyu.edu
 

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