The Tech - Online EditionMIT's oldest and largest
newspaper & the first
newspaper published
on the web
Boston Weather: 44.0°F | Overcast

Eric Reissner PhD '38

Eric Reissner PhD '38, a professor in the Department of Mathematics from 1949 to 1969, died on Nov. 1 of cancer at the Pacific Regent Health Care Center in San Diego, California. He was 83.

Born in Aachen, Germany, Reissner received a doctorate in applied mechanics fromBerlin Technical University in 1935. He immigrated to theUnited States in 1937.

After receiving his PhD in mathematics in 1938, Reissner conducted research at MIT, and he was named a full professor in 1949. He remained at the Instituteuntil 1969 and later continued his research as a professor at the University of California at San Diego.

Reissner's main focus while at MIT was the development of the Reissner shear-deformation plate theory, which describes how flat objects react under stress or when a force is applied to them. By allowing engineers to model the forces on surfaces like floors or airplane wings, the theory led to significant advances in civil and aeronautical engineering.

Because of his findings, Reissner was named a fellow by the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics. He also received the vonKarman Medal from the American Society of Civil Engineers and the Guggenheim Fellow award, among many other professional recognitions.

Reissner was elected a fellow by the American Academy ofArts andSciences in 1950. He received the Eminent Scientist Award from the Wessex Institute of Technology in 1985.

While at the University of California at San Diego, Reissner researched principals of elasticity and problems concerning the behavior of elastic beam plates and shells. He continued serving as a professoremeritus of applied mathematics at the university until his death.

During his lifetime,Reissner published over 300 articles in professional journals. Many of these works were compiled recently into his book, Selected Works in Applied Mechanics and Mathematics.

Reissner is survived by his wife Johanna, two children, and five grandchildren.