Irvin Glassman 2 Replies Irvin Glassman, the Robert H. Goddard Professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, Emeritus, died Dec. 14, 2019
Way back in 1961 I was a graduate student in the AMS department, with most of my classes out at Forrestal. The faculty was phenomenal; Luigi Crocco, Wallace Hayes, Martin Summerfield, S.I. Cheng, Harvey Lam, my thesis advisor Jerry Grey, and Irv Glassman. I remember them all as if it were yesterday. Each brilliant in their own way. But by far the most approachable was Irv. Although I went on to specialize in other areas, I recall the enthusiasm Irv showed as he illustrated key concepts in combustion theory. Those were halcyon days. Then, in 1999 I visited the campus again and wandered into the much newer home of AMS on campus. I turned a corner, and there was Irv. I barely got the words “Professor Glassman” out of my mouth when he looked at me, and within a second said – “Oh my goodness Paul, how many years has it been”. I had taken exactly one course under him and that was almost forty years prior to this meeting, and he remembered me almost instantly! A great professor, and a great person. RIP.
If anyone deserved to live a full and long life, it is Dr. Glassman. As an undergraduate Dr. Glassman was my advisor. He, along with Dr. Turkevich in Chemistry, had the most influence on me as an undergraduate. The two were giants in their respective fields, but it is the humanity of those two gentlemen that imprinted on thousands of students.
In many ways, I dearly wish that I had stayed on at Princeton and pursued a PhD under Irv’s guidance. That study surely would have been in the chemistry of combustion, a very nice juxtaposition of the two men’s lifework. Life has its interesting twists and turns, but the memories ground us. All who came in contact with Professor Glassman are the better for it, even if it is was just for a moment. And Beverly, the most gracious host I have ever encountered. A lovely lady, a lovely couple.