Memorial Tributes: Volume 27
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  • ALEXANDER I. LEONTIEV (1927-2022)
    ALEXANDER I. LEONTIEVALEXANDER I. LEONTIEV

     

    BY JOHN R. HOWELL

    ALEXANDER IVANOVICH LEONTIEV was born May 24, 1927, in St. Petersburg, Russia, to Ivan Ivanovich and Galina Mihailovna (Zdorik) Leontiev. He passed away November 30, 2022, at age 95.

    He led and/or established important research programs in the Soviet Union and later the Russian Federation and became internationally known for his fundamental work in thermophysics, particularly on heat transfer in combined natural and forced convection, phase transitions, boiling, boundary layer theory, and combustion in power engineering. His research resulted in over 350 publications. Apart from his own seminal research and technical leadership, he was enthusiastic in promoting international cooperation among researchers in the field of heat transfer.

    Sasha, as he was known, did his undergraduate study in aerospace engineering at the Moscow Aviation Institute (1950) and then pursued advanced degrees in mechanical engineering from the Krzhizhanovsky Power Engineering Institute (1955) and the Institute for Thermal Physics (1963) of the Siberian Branch of the USSR Academy of Sciences in Novosibirsk.

    He had joined the staff of the Institute for Thermal Physics in 1959 and there founded the Laboratory of Thermal Gas Dynamics. He returned to Moscow in 1968 as head of the Department Laboratory of Mass Transfer at the Institute for High Temperatures of the USSR Academy of Sciences, where he remained until 1975. He then lectured on heat transfer at Bauman Moscow State University until 1978, served a year as head of the laboratory of the Institute for Problems in Mechanics of the USSR Academy of Sciences (1978–79), and returned to Bauman to lead the Department of Thermogasdynamics and Gas Turbine Engines (1979–88), concurrently serving as a consultant to the university’s chancellor.

    His international promotion of research cooperation included stints as an elected member and then vice president of the International Center for Heat and Mass Transfer, from which he received the Luikov Medal, the center’s highest international award, in 2002. He also served on the editorial boards of the International Journal of Heat and Mass Transfer and International Communications in Heat and Mass Transfer, among others.

    In alternate years from 1977 to 2017 he led seminars (the “Leontiev Schools”) for invited graduate-level students and young scientists from Russia and other countries at which their work was critiqued and advertised, and interaction among students and advisors was encouraged. Social events, including off-key songfests, were also organized at these gatherings, further advancing international collaborations.

    Professor Leontiev was elected an Academician of the Russian Academy of Sciences in 1991 and chaired its National Committee of Heat and Mass Transfer from 1995 until his death. He was awarded the prestigious Max Jakob Prize from ASME/AIChE in 1998. At the award ceremony he presented the review paper “Heat and Mass Transfer Problems for Film Cooling.” He was elected a foreign member of the NAE in 2008, and in 2010 he received the Global Ener-gy Prize for his fundamental research in the field of intensification of heat transfer in power plants.

    Sasha had an immense store of outrageous tales that he enjoyed telling and that his audiences loved. On one memorable train ride from St. Petersburg to Moscow, he told stories and jokes that left all in stitches and in wonder at his capacity for yarns.

    He was also an accomplished cartoonist and often presented colleagues with his outlandish caricatures lampooning their presentations at technical meetings. His intelligence and natural personal charm, kindness, friendliness, and wonderful sense of humor made a personal relationship with him rich and rewarding.

    He married Olga Semenovna Pustovoit on February 2, 1952. They had two children, Artemova Galina Alexandrovna and Borisova Olga Alexandrovna.