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Max Jakob

Max JakobAn internationally known expert in heat transfer, was a faculty member (1937– 1955) of the mechanical engineering department at AIT and IIT, and a research scientist at Armour Research Foundation.

One of the many eminent German scientists to emigrate to America rather than work under Hitler’s regime, Max Jakob was actively recruited by President W. E. Hotchkiss to join the Research Foundation of Armour Institute of Technology and take on the task of directing the newly created heat exchange laboratories. Jakob was recognized as among a handful of leading scholars of the world in heat transfer and an important link to the expertise German scientists had already achieved in the field. Reportedly wooed to Armour Institute of Technology by his friend and colleague Enrico Fermi, Jakob was 58 when he arrived here in 1937, having left behind a 30-year career in his native country to begin a 20-year career in his adopted country. As a result, the free world was able to take advantage of knowledge born of a brilliant mind, a compassionate heart, and a pure scientist.

Late 20th-century scientists and textbooks continued to cite Jakob’s pioneering research on heat transfer and fluid flow, the fundamental principles of which found applications in the nuclear, electronics, and aerospace industries. The hundreds of books, articles, and journals that he wrote or edited attest to the primacy of his chosen research field to the scientific advances of the first half of the 20th century. His contributions are reflected in the 1961 establishment of The Max Jakob Memorial Award by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers and the American Institute of Chemical Engineers.

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