Memorial Tributes: Volume 27
IsNew Yes
Tribute Author
Membership Directory

Search this Publication

  • RICHARD J. GOLDSTEIN (1928-2023)



    RICHARD JAY GOLDSTEIN was an esteemed researcher in the field of heat transfer, a superb teacher, and an inspirational advisor and mentor to many. His prolific contributions, presented across more than 300 publications, are a cornerstone for future researchers in various sectors of this discipline. His papers on heat transfer measurement techniques, natural convection, and film cooling were pivotal to improving efficiency in gas turbines and many other thermal systems. He passed away at age 94 on March 6, 2023.

    Born in New York City on March 27, 1928, Richard was the son of Henry and Rose Goldstein. A Stuyvesant High School graduate (1944), Richard received his B.S. in mechanical engineering from Cornell University (1948), and he completed his M.S. in mechanical engineering (1950) and physics (1951) from the University of Minnesota while working as an instructor at the university. His interest in engineering was inspired by his older brother Arthur, who went missing in action during World War II and was never found. Arthur’s disappearance was devasting for the Goldstein family, and Richard’s parents remained in the same New York City apartment for many years in case Arthur ever returned and the one thing he could remember was his home address.

    Richard joined Oak Ridge National Laboratory as a development engineer in 1951, serving afterward in the U.S. Army as a first lieutenant for two years. Richard then returned to the University of Minnesota in 1956 and received his Ph.D. in mechanical engineering for his dissertation titled “Interferometric Study of the Steady State and Transient Free Convection Thermal Boundary Layers in Air and in Water about a Uniformly Heated Vertical Flat Plate” under the guidance of Ernst R.G. Eckert (NAE 1970). He also worked as an engineer for Lockheed Aircraft Corporation during this same period. In 1959, after obtaining his doctoral degree, Richard joined the College of Engineering at Brown University as an assistant professor for one year. He then spent one year as a NATO postdoctoral fellow at the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique in 1960. He returned to the University of Minnesota as an associate professor in 1961, where he continued to serve until his death more than 60 years later.

    During his long career, Richard pioneered research in many important areas of heat transfer, and his extensive contributions provided tremendous incentive to researchers and engineers around the world. His research included foundational studies of boundary layers in natural convection, laminar and turbulent flows, mass transfer, heat transfer with phase change, hydrodynamic and thermal instability, jet impingement cooling, film cooling, jet-mainstream interaction, wall curvature effects on film cooling, modeling of two- and three-dimensional film cooling, separated and vortex flows, and a range of investigations of particular importance in gas turbine heat transfer.

    Richard was a renowned innovator in the field of measurement, having pioneered numerous optical measurement techniques. He applied his expertise in developing a Mach-Zehnder interferometer to study transient temperature distribution and heat transfer in liquid layers. In addition, he designed and constructed the first reference beam laser-Doppler anemometer and demonstrated its efficacy in precision measurement pertaining to laminar developing flow in ducts. Richard also spearheaded the use of laser-Doppler systems for measuring turbulence properties and was the first to acquire Doppler measurements of flow with gas turbine combustors.

    Several other measuring techniques introduced by Richard include different mass transfer techniques for measurements in gas flows to study heat transfer and film cooling. His pioneering work in film cooling includes the introduction of discrete holes (and the effect of discrete hole injection on the film cooling effectiveness of end walls and blade surfaces) and shaped hole geometries (now widely used in almost every high-performance gas turbine); many consider him to be the “father of film cooling.” He did complex and precise local temperature and heat transfer measurements in a turbine cascade. His work on mass transfer systems (e.g., electrochemical and naphthalene sublimation mass transfer techniques) played a crucial role in providing precision measurements in several free and forced convection flows, which are widely acknowledged.

    Richard was also widely known for his work in Rayleigh-Bénard convection, with notable contributions spanning various experimental setups and fluid types. He conducted the first-ever experiment that confirmed the critical Rayleigh number for instability in a fluid layer heated from below with two shear-free boundaries. He also developed an electrochemical system that enabled the study of Rayleigh-Bénard convection at very high Prandtl (Schmidt) numbers. His investigations of flow encompassed a wide range of Rayleigh numbers. To achieve the largest Rayleigh number possible in a modest-sized laboratory test setup, Richard used compressed gases — nitrogen, argon, and krypton — and liquids with large thermal expansion coefficients.

    Richard’s contributions have spanned many areas, some of which are noted above, and have been recognized by numerous honors and awards. They include honorary doctoral degrees, visiting professorships, fellowships and memberships in prestigious professional and honorary societies, honorary editorial advisory board memberships for esteemed journals, and much more. His distinguished contributions to the field of heat transfer were recognized with many prestigious awards, including the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) Heat Transfer Memorial Award (1978), the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE)/ASME Max Jakob Award (1990), the International Centre for Heat and Mass Transfer (ICHMT) Luikov Medal (1990), and the Nusselt-Reynolds Prize (1993). He was also bestowed fellowships in reputed societies such as the American Physical Society (1989), the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (1989), the American Society for Engineering Education (1997), ASME (1999), and the UK Royal Academy of Engineering (1999). He was also a member of the National Academy of Engineering-Mexico (1991), the European Academy of Sciences and Arts (2016), and the Pan American Academy of Engineering (2019). He received honorary doctorates from Technion Israel Institute of Technology (1994), Portugal Instituto Superior Técnico (1996), and the Belarus Luikov Heat and Mass Transfer Institute (1997). His service as an officer in many organizations includes his tenure as the president of the Assembly for International Heat Transfer Conferences (1986-90), ASME (1996-97), and ICHMT (1999-2002). He served as the honorary member of the Associazione Termotecnica Italiana (2006), as the chairman of the honorary editorial advisory boards for International Journal of Heat and Mass Transfer and International Communications in Heat and Mass Transfer, as a member of the ICHMT executive committee, and as a member of several ASME technical committees for several years. In recognition of his pioneering contributions to the field of engineering, ASME established the Richard J. Goldstein Energy Lecture Award in 2019 to recognize outstanding contributions to the frontiers of energy. More recently, ICHMT also posthumously established the Hewitt-Goldstein Young Investigator Award.

    Richard continued to work right up to the end, albeit virtually, through Zoom calls with his students and engineering societies. Some of Richard’s proudest work was creating opportunities for others. He mentored 74 doctoral and 82 master’s students, as well as many visiting and postdoctoral scholars, many of whom became outstanding academicians and engineers in the field. The deep affection shared between Richard and several of his closest friends was shared in “Professor Richard J. Goldstein on his 60th birthday” published in the International Journal of Heat and Mass Transfer, a portion of which is captured here:

    Professor Goldstein’s research has from its inception attracted a steady stream of aspiring graduate students. As teacher, advisor, and mentor he has had a profound impact upon their personal view of scientific research and their professional careers. They have found him an inspirational teacher, investigator, and scholar but treasure even more his ability to convey to each of his students a sure sense of the high standards which ought to attend research scholarship and academic endeavor. His students are found the world over in universities, private industry and government service and he continues to follow their progress with keen interest, appreciation, and encouragement.

    In 2018, the Mechanical Engineering Department at the University of Minnesota hosted a 90th birthday celebration for Richard. Attendees from eight foreign countries, nine other universities, and four companies from outside the state joined 25 faculty colleagues and spouses. Technical presentations and tributes to Richard were made, and many stories were told of Richard’s impact on their lives. Comments reflected the kindness and support they received as students working with Richard. A highlight of the event was a presentation by Richard reflecting on the many talented persons with whom he had the privilege to join in engineering research and education and the significant impact that group made on society.

    Richard enjoyed black coffee, the Minnesota Vikings, collecting chess sets, the theatre and classical music, and chasing solar eclipses. He also loved to travel and take his four children each on their own adventures. He swam with great white sharks off the coast of Cape Town with his daughter Naomi, climbed Mt. Fuji with his son Ben, fished for piranhas in the Amazon River with his son Jon, and went hiking at age 94 with his son Arthur in southern Minnesota. He was also a master of the art of napping, and his children marveled at his ability to fall asleep almost anywhere, anytime. From a Madonna concert to seeing “Hamilton” on Broadway to even bouncing around in a Jeep searching for elephants while on safari, Richard’s napping abilities never failed to amaze. He also loved to entertain, and his children fondly remember growing up with big Thanksgiving dinners at the house where their father’s colleagues, students, and families would gather.

    Predeceased by his wife, Barbara, he is survived by his former wife, Nancy, and their children, Arthur, Jonathan (Robbin), Benjamin (Barbara), and Naomi (Luis), and two grandsons.

    Richard’s passion for engineering and education provided lifelong energy and inspiration to many. He transcended his role as a researcher and teacher, becoming a professional and personal role model to his students and peers alike. His sudden passing has left a void in our lives, and we will deeply miss our mentor and friend.