Bergles Passes at 78
Glenn L. Martin Institute Professor of Engineering Dr. Arthur S. Bergles (78) passed away Monday, March 17, 2014, of a malignant brain tumor. Bergles was recognized as one of the world’s leading experts in thermal sciences. Since 1999, he served as a research professor in University of Maryland's Department of Mechanical Engineering in addition to being a member of the Department's Visiting Committee.
Born in New York City on August 9, 1935, he was the son of Edward and Victoria Bergles who immigrated to the United States from Austria. The couple worked in Manhattan for several years before moving upstate to Rhinebeck, N.Y. to fulfill Edward’s dream of building a hydroelectric power plant. A self-taught engineer, Edward completed the plant in 1938, which ran almost continuously for 47 years with Dr. Arthur Bergles’ help, producing 25kW of power.
As a young boy, he trekked from the homestead to a one-room schoolhouse, and subsequently, he moved to the Rhinebeck Central School System where he was active in sports, earned his Eagle Scout and excelled in academics—graduating valedictorian of his high school class. With all the technical activity at home, he developed a passion for engineering and enrolled in the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in 1953. He stayed there for 16 years, completing a combined bachelor’s/master’s degree in Engineering and then a Ph.D. degree in Mechanical Engineering, and he spent an intervening year spent as Fulbright Scholar at the Technical University in Munich, Germany. While at MIT, he met his future wife, Priscilla (Penny) Maule, who was a student at Boston University.
Bergles taught for several years in MIT's Department of Mechanical Engineering as Assistant Professor, before moving to the Georgia Institute of Technology as professor, and then to Iowa State University as chair of the Department of Mechanical Engineering and the Anson-Marston Distinguished Professor of Engineering. While at Iowa State, he was awarded a fellowship from the Alexander von Humbolt Foundation and spent a year as a visiting professor at the University of Hannover with his family in Germany. He later served as Dean of Engineering at Rensselaer, where he held the title of Clark-Crossan Professor of Engineering. Bergles remained active in retirement, serving as Clark-Crossan Professor Emeritus at Rensselaer, Senior Lecturer at MIT, and Glenn L. Martin Institute Professor of Engineering at the University of Maryland.
Throughout his career, Bergles was very active in professional societies, including the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME), the American Society of Engineering Education (ASEE), and the American Society of Heating, Refrigeration, and Air-Conditioning–Engineers (ASHRAE). He served as the President of ASME from 1990-1991.
Bergles published over 400 papers, 26 books and presented over 400 invited lectures. He received numerous professional awards for his work on heat transfer, held fellowships from seven technical societies, was awarded honorary professorships from three overseas universities and received honorary doctorates from the University of Porto, Portugal, Rand Africaans University in South Africa and the University of Rome-Sapienza, Italy. He was elected to the National Academy of Engineering (NAE) in 1992 and as a foreign member of the English Royal Society of Mechanical Engineers in 2000.
Bergles was passionate about education and committed to supporting the careers of young scientists, advising 82 thesis students. The Bergles Professorship was established through an endowment by Arthur and Penny Bergles with the intent of attracting or retaining an outstanding senior faculty member in thermal sciences at Iowa State University. The Dr. Arthur E. Bergles Scholarship was established in 1996 with gifts from friends, faculty, colleagues and corporations upon the occasion of his retirement from Rensselaer. The Bergles-Rohsenow Young Investigator Award in Heat Transfer is presented annually through ASME. He also volunteered his time to serve on numerous fellowship and award selection committees.
In his spare time, he enjoyed rowing varsity crew at MIT, playing golf at many of the Cape Cod golf courses and swimming and clamming with his wife, Penny, on summer Sundays. He was a member of the MIT Club of Cape Cod and past president of the Osterville Rotary Club.
He is survived by his wife of 53 years, Penny, two sons, Eric Bergles of San Jose, California and Dwight Bergles of Baltimore, Maryland, and five grandchildren: Joshua and Joseph of Eric and Joyce Bergles, and Henry, Julia and Sophie of Dwight and Susan Bergles. A private burial service will be held in Rhinebeck, N.Y.
Published March 21, 2014