S: Max L. Williams on his 90th Birthday
BC: WGK's first experiment for Max
1: February 22, 2012 Dear Max I think it is important to recognize in one’s professional life that there have been and are numerous contacts in our past which have generated lasting values. It is both important and satisfying to take account of this, and it is in this spirit that the contributors express these feelings in the sequel. The following pages contain, therefore, friendly messages and reminiscing accounts of those of your friends who felt strong enough to respond to an invitation to participating in this volume. A number of contacts I addressed had left no forwarding coordinate and did not respond to what I could find via Google. From a Caltech perspective I was surprised how many institutions do not follow up on the whereabouts of their former faculty, though we do not seem to do a great job here in that regard, either. Some contributors offered relatively recent images of themselves, while other pictures came by way of Tim Folias, who provided me with his collection of images from your Utah celebration and even had them digitized. I have ordered the contributions roughly alphabetically, though page distribution made small deviations occasionally desirable. We all really hope that this compendium will keep you close to your friends and reminds you of how you have contributed so expressly to their lives. Wolfgang | Drawing on front cover by courtesy of Stefan Knauss | Front cover: Courtesy of Stefan Knauss
6: October 2011 From Colin Atkinson, UK (Wolfgang, here is a recollection!): I first met Max and Mel in Kiruna 1967 which was certainly the nicest conference I have ever been to. I met Max later when he was on leave at Imperial College (approximately 1971!). He used to take me to his USAF Club at Lancaster gate on the other side of Hyde Park. For Xmas they came to our house with an Argentinian friend called Julio Bouillet. Somehow we had really good Xmas crackers with tin whistles which lead to Max playing and conducting the rest of us, while claiming his ancestor Stephen Foster. That night I drove Mel, Max and Julio to central London where they were staying and after dropping them off my car broke down so I spent the night sleeping in the Math Dept. Next day Max fixed the car with a bit of wire with great skill. Max's office mate in Mech Eng was living in a mews house just round the corner (a very expensive area) and Mel and I went for dinner there one night (I was replacing Max who was off on a trip). Everything went smoothly until Mel asked a perfectly innocent question with respect to our host's previous employment. Suddenly the temperature dropped to zero and we did not know what we had done wrong! We found out later! Jerry Swedlow also came to London around that time or perhaps a little later. And over the years I spent many happy visits with Max and Mel and family in Utah and later in Pittsburgh. It is odd the disjointed moments that we remember, but the warmth of the memory of both Max and Mel are with me everyday. All the best, Colin Colin Atkinson Schlumberger Cambridge Research
7: January 2012 MAX It was a bit unexpected to learn that your 90th was coming up. At the Christmas party you didn’t look a day older than you did a good many years ago. My earliest memory of you is from a visit you paid to Rohm and Haas in 1963. I had just gone to work for Charlie Parr and was trying to figure out what solid propellant was all about. I’d been told that you were the top man in propellant mechanics, so I asked you a question or two. I don’t remember what the questions were – pretty sure they were not too profound- nor do I recall your answers. I do remember that your answers, instead of telling me what I’d asked, gave me a clue as to how I might figure out the answers for myself. That’s a useful trick in the teaching business, I’ve found. It’s clear that you knew plenty of good teaching tricks. Your students and their students have had quite an impact on fracture mechanics and viscoelasticity, both of which fields profited inordinately from the interest in solid propellants. I did not follow your work after you went east. But was mightily impressed when you arrived in Austin with Mel. First time I’d known her. Clever as ever of you to be so well attended. Until next Christmas, Eric
14: Dear Professor Knauss, It was a delight to dine with you and Mrs. Knauss in February this year. Thank you for hosting that wonderful dinner. My parents thoroughly enjoyed that visit to Caltech and the chance to see old friends again. I’ve spoken with my father several times since receiving your request that he write something for Max Williams, but I’m afraid his memory for specifics has faded to the point that he will not be able to write a meaningful note. I’m not sure how to handle this. To be absent would be ungracious, but to send something generic or off-target would be heartbreaking too. I will visit my parents again next week, and perhaps we can find a photo from the old days to which my father could append a greeting. But I’m sorry that a real reminiscence is no longer in the cards. My apologies, but best wishes to you and Mrs. Knauss, Conrad Conrad A. Fung 262-938-9523 phone and fax 262-488-7000 cell PS Later response: Thank you for your understanding. I’ll see what we can find when I visit next week. It is extraordinary that they both have been so well for so long! Best wishes, Conrad
15: December 2011 Wolfgang. I am sorry for being so delinquent in following up with you. Please don't hold anything waiting for me. I spent 6-days in the Mayo Clinic Hospital in July and another twelve days the last two weeks of November, including Thanksgiving. After ruling out a number of lung ailments, including TB, I was diagnosed with MAI. I was diagnosed with this lung infection three years ago. It is similar to TB, but not contagious. In 2009 I went on an 18 month antibiotics treatment, at which time the doctors thought it was gone. Apparently not. This time they are indicating it might take longer than 18 months and includes home infusion of an antibiotic as well as three oral antibiotics. This whole thing has lately led to a 25 lb weight loss (I now weigh 150 lb) and have no stamina or strength. I don't have strength to leave the house and I am on Oxygen 24/7. It's a nuisance, but if I can bring something together for Max, I will. Bill (Hufferd)
17: January 2012 Max Williams – Teacher, Mentor, and Friend Dear Max, Happy Birthday. I hope you will consent to let those who admire you and value the positive impact your have made on our lives, to reminisce a bit, and to honor you. The Great Race – On one of your consulting visits, the ‘Wild Bunch” at Rocketdyne, McGregor hornswaggled you into going to a movie wherein The Great Leslie (Tony Curtis), races, among others, with Professor Fate ( Jack Lemon) and Maximillian Meen (Peter Falk). Suffragette photojournalist Maggie Dubois (Natalie Wood) starts the race in her newspaper’s car, and therein is an interesting part of the story. After a small CC&7, the movie provided us with an evening of relaxation and humor. Only Peter Falk could dominate the sinister scene, by sweeping his eye from one side to the other, while the other eye stayed still. Persistently, you practice and thereby teach Win/Win interactions with people. Your students picked up on that. Many have learned to conduct synergistic transactions that contribute to their success. Penny-Shaped Crack – Only you could have recognized the economic potential of applying fracture theory to oil recovery. Only you could have persuaded, guided, and nurtured the fracture concept to such an important industrial practice. From U of U, to Terratech, to Reed Tool drilling lab, and on to practical application in industry. World petroleum production now uses down-hole “Fracing” as an everyday part of their operations. Fields in the Permian Basin having wells in tertiary recovery, are now reopening wells for horizontal drilling and fracing. Ann and my sons are employed in the oil industry, one at Haliburton and the other at Chesapeak. The royalties are nice too. I stand in awe. How did you know? Bill Jones “In the Land of the blind, the one eyed man is king.”
18: Frank N Kelley 8885 Locust St. SW Sherrodsville, OH 44675 To Max L Williams on the occasion of his 90th birthday,– February 22, 2012 Dear Max: How could I forget our first lunch together with Don Hart at the Riverside California JANAF meeting? Was it late1961 or early1962? I was a newly activated lieutenant in the Air Force and was introduced by Don to a famous professor at Caltech! The first assignment I had was to read the classic GALCIT report. Viscoelasticity applied to rockets ! Many years have passed now, but our friendship has continued to grow. It has continued in spite of my almost being hired by you, first, as a post-doc (tentative) at Caltech, then for a faculty job at Utah, then to an exalted position at Pitt. Each time I declined because each time I was somehow promoted to another job in the Air Force, and finally I took my first academic job at Akron that lasted 28 years. It's amazing to me that you tolerated my seemingly capricious decisions, but please know that I aspired to become a professor (and dean) because of your example, and pursued the establishment of a polymer engineering department in my college because of your tireless advocacy at the national level. My memories are so many and so vivid that I can hardly recount them all. I have enjoyed my associations and friendships with many of your former students, several of whom I met while they were still in graduate school, including Wolfgang Knauss, Dick Schapery, Jerry Lindsay, Tim Folias and many more who have made their mark in key positions in the academy, government and industries throughout the world. I count Wolfgang as a long-time colleague and dear friend. Some cherished memories that come to mind are an early sailing trip with Judy (very pregnant), that included your daughter's unfortunate accident in banging her head on the bowsprit of a nearby boat; the important NATO Advanced Study Institute in Stresa, Italy which you organized (what a surprise when you turned up newly married to a beautiful lady named Mel); our many visits to each other's homes, sometimes to spend days and nights collaborating on papers we published together; and of course the "Interaction Matrix" which grew out of the Stresa meeting and the attempts you made teach me engineering mechanics and my attempts at reciprocating with some polymer chemistry stuff. It was a fortunate "confluence of circumstances." I remember fun in the sun at St George Island, your NAE celebration conference at Lake Placid, our occasional jaunts to Atwood Lodge, our stimulating and philosophizing conversations, and my slow uptake on your gems of wisdom. And then there was our herculean effort to organize a proposal to NASA, partnering with all the key industry
19: and academic players in solid rocket booster adhesive bonding, only to be beat out by a company which was a novice at rockets, but a master at political marketing. Most important were the times our families got involved, such as the fantastic whitewater rafting trip in Utah with our sons and other friends. There was your generosity in giving our son Frank a car he could use in medical school, with the admonition that he should do similar things for others when he became successful. You always made such an impression on my kids, so that when our daughter Katie had her first child she named him Max, because you became an important person in her life. Our periodic, hour-long telephone conversations keep us in touch and will certainly continue. Max, you have always been a role model to me and caused me to reach higher than I believed myself capable. I have referred to you often as my mentor, but it seems like much more. Over fifty years of admiration have grown into a friendship which I count first among all I have known. Judy and my whole family join me in wishing you and Mel good health and much happiness on another, albeit trivial to you, yet noteworthy, milestone in your stellar life; encompassing many beneficiaries from your career as a dedicated and highly accomplished engineer, teacher, researcher, author, consultant, academic leader and mentor. With love (and determination to see you and Mel soon), Frank
20: December 31, 2011 Dear Max. There is probably not much that we can do, besides being reasonably prudent, to make us reach a relatively healthy life. In spite of today’s healthy component of witchcraft in medicine, that field of semi-science has made great impacts on our longer and more tolerable lives, and both you and I have some experience in that regard. Nevertheless, a ”ripe, old” age is thus not the same as achieving professional prominence, though you have reached both stages, and I wish I could copy your record for me. I count myself very fortunate to have had you in the development of my career. At the end of my bachelor’s studies I had talked to Frank Marble about working for him in jet propulsion and was surprised about his cool response, suggesting I talk to him in the new school year. You were there with a summer support offer, because you seemed to have liked my class project in Ae107 —which you taught that year—addressing the slump of a vertically accelerating, cylindrical rocket grain; it had a mistake in it, but the completeness is what you said you liked. In this way you really raised my interest in solid mechanics, and more specifically, in fracture mechanics. An interlude of interest was the arrival of Paul Blatz on the Caltech solid mechanics scene. With a brilliant though less than optimally organized mind Paul was to be my academic Ph.D. advisor. I forgot what the subject of his first assignment for me was, but remember very clearly that he gave me a problem to solve. When I showed up in his office two days later he said: “Wolfgang, I worked it out; this is the way you do that”. He then proceeded to give me another problem, and the same process resulted a day or two later. That competition went on for another round, after which I spoke to you, and you understood quickly that I was not willing to cast my lot with Paul. Bill Ko seems to have fared better in that regard, for he is still proud of what he accomplished with Paul. You were very busy (an understatement) in those days and had to rely on your students to pretty much take care of themselves after you had suggested an area of exploration. I am continually grateful for the freedom you gave me, for it allowed and forced me to become rather self-reliant. Some of my own students have thanked me for what I learned form you in this regard. Your continual desire to combine theoretical endeavors with experimental (real life) evidence influenced my entire career by taking preponderance in virtually all of my studies. Besides bending my interest into solid and fracture mechanics, you provided for other professional starts for me: You had me appointed at Caltech as an assistant professor, and when you moved to the University of Utah as dean of engineering in 1966 you did another unbelievably good deed for me: You left me a lucrative NASA grant —in today’s value close to 3/4 million dollars, not counting the follow-ons— with which I could perform all my early research on crack propagation in viscoelastic materials; it was an outstanding opportunity for me and is literally beyond valuation. I also inherited my first student from you, Hans Müller when you left, another wonderful “gift”. Sometimes it takes a while and some ageing before one realizes the tremendous impact such gifts have on one’s life. But, today I know!
21: While our paths did not cross a lot after you went to Utah, and less so when you were in Pittsburgh, my admiration for your capabilities and foresight in academic and business matters has continued to impress me. Especially since I was never very adept at the latter, in spite of the fact that you introduced me into consulting at a very early stage: You may not remember this occurrence, but it is indelibly impressed in my mind, because it was a real revelation for a graduate student going towards his Ph.D.: It was at Lockheed Propulsion in 1962 where “you all” were preparing for a proposal and you had taken me along to work out some of the detailed calculations and data reduction (perhaps to let the Lockheed people look me over as a potential hiree). Then came five o’clock, and suddenly bottles appeared. I was not finished with what my task was and thus kept working in spite of the din, when, after another hour, Ed Fitzgerald came along and admonished me that there needed to be a shift in effort—get with the crowd—don’t make them feel bad. That was my introduction to the fact that business can have different faces. Similar situation arose during the time I tagged along to some of the numerous workshops on viscoelasticy you offered in industrial environments. Today I look back at a very grateful relationship with you, which culminates in the joy of finding you as sharp as ever and still demanding considerable mental agility to follow your pronouncements and expositions. With my very best wishes, Wolfgang
26: MAX – Happy Birthday ! On this occasion it is warming to reflect on your work, and to hand you a major kudo for your “running of” the Air Force’s Program on “The Mechanical Properties of Their Materials”. Of course we at JPL were pleased that you “invented” some of the facets of that work from our work for the Army. It kind of kept things in the Caltech family. But never mind, JPL was at least very indirectly acknowledged. So, I wonder -- -- did you ever actually hold in your bare hands a chunk of propellant larger than a dog bone test piece? wink wink “Seriously,” though, I’ll recall for you the time that you and Frank Kelly were, as Frank described it once in an introductory talk at a Gordon Conference , “looking all over” for experimental results on a particular facet of the behavior and lifetime of the mechanical properties of propellants. And couldn’t find anything. Nothing. Out of the whole Army, Navy, and Air Force Labs and their contractor’s work. But then [finally], you (i.e. Frank), asked yourselves the question: “Hey - did Bob Landel ever do anything in this area?” And as Frank put it in an introductory talk at a Gordon Conference meeting, ” - - so we looked at his work. And there it was.” All kidding aside though, Max, you were indeed a powerhouse in aiding and advancing the nation’s struggle to gain really meaningful defense and offense capabilities in the cold war and its aftermath. You were a key man in organizing and running these Department of Defense -NASA review meetings, called by the DOD, on the mechanical properties of propellant materials. (Did you ever find out why the Navy did not participate in these meetings and had only an observer there?) At Cal Tech you didn’t try to develop a large group, but - supported by the Air Force -, concentrated on identifying crucial problem areas and finding - and following-up on – academic people and commercial companies to do the work Thank you for that leadership role on a national need. On a different note, Remember the incident in Japan, at an International Rheology Meeting? At the reception my wife and I saw you and we started a conversation. A Japanese came up to talk. But it was immediately clear that he wanted to talk to me - - A deep bow and “Ahh So - - Professor Landel” and had no interest in you at all. I introduced my wife – he quickly acknowledged her presence with a brush-off little bow and
27: continued his conversation. She interrupted him and said “ And this is Professor Williams.” The Japanese immediately turned and beamed at you, bowed very deeply, pulled out his camera and indicated that we two should stand together for a photo, all the while exclaiming delightedly “Ahh So -- -- Williams, Williams-Landel-Ferry -- -- can I take a picture of you both?” But Aurora and I immediately said Oh No that’s a different Williams At which he immediately turned his back on you to focus on me and, only indirectly, my wife. But she, a Filipino with experience in Japanese and Japanese English immediately grasped his response and said, “Oh No -- -- he’s not the Williams you were thinking of, but he is a famous scientist in his own right.” And with a quick raised eyebrow, an “Ahh So,” and a re-bow, he swivelled back to you, waved his arm to signal that we should stand together, and took a picture of us. ( And from then on Aurora was one of your dear friends) Bob Landel | Prof. Yokobori present a gift to Prof. Williams as a Member of the Organizing Committee of the First International conference on Fracture, Sendai, Japan, 1964.
30: November 2011 Dear Max, As you approach your 90th birthday and I approach my 83rd, I have reminisced about our times. I think it was about 1958 at an Applied Mechanics Conference at Berkeley when we first met. You had given a paper on photoelastic analysis of star-shaped solid propellant grains. I sought you out after your paper, to discuss my work on photoelastic analysis of cure shrinkage in similar grains. Although I could get beautiful patterns, I did not know how to quantify them. (Neither did you.) And I never was able to do anymore with that project. But we stayed in touch and you became a consultant to my Applied Mechanics Group at Rohm and Haas. I recall that you tried several times to get me interested in crack propagation and failure, but I successfully dodged your efforts. And that led to a seminal event in my life when you invited me to Cal Tech for a summer, under Air Force sponsorship, to prepare a paper on numerical analysis of solid propellant grains for “Solid Rocket Structural Integrity Abstracts”. This was 1963 and Eric Becker and John Brisbane, in my absence, were busily programming the first easy-to-use finite element program for solid rockets. I was flattered to be asked to write a paper for the “Abstracts” but also to spend time as a Research fellow at prestigious a school as Cal Tech. (I recently saw a survey of technical schools which rated MIT No. 1, Georgia Tech, my alma mater, No. 2 and Cal Tech No. 3. Ha!) Your graduate students, Adam Zak, Wolfgang Knauss, Dick Shapery, Russ Westmann, Gerry Lindsey, and Jerry Swedlow were an interesting group. I kept in contact with Adam until the mid 70's (his aunt was Secretary at Lord Corporation in Erie.). Wolfgang informed that he had passed on. I visited Swedlow in Pittsburgh and kept in touch until his tragic death. I saw Schapery several times when he was at A&M but not since he went to the University of Texas.
31: Pittsburgh! The coldest football game I ever set through was the one you invited Betty and me to. Pitt and Penn State? All I remember about the game is seeing Tony Dorsett in his All-America year. The graciousness of you and Mel having us in your home is a treasured memory. After you came to Texas, you came down to The University of Texas at San Antonio to gave a talk . At the time I was part-time faculty, and you graciously mentioned my work in finite elements to the audience. As we approach our final years, we can look back on a technical life well spent. Tremendous progress has been made in structural and failure analysis, and you are a major contributor to the science. I feel fortunate to have been a part of this progress and especially of my association with you and your students. With best wishes for a long future, Charlie Parr
41: December 30, 2011 Congratulations to Max Williams on his approaching 90th birthday! It will be an occasion for reflecting back on a lifetime of accomplishment, from his technical achievements in the field of fracture, his involvement with graduate education, founding of a major journal, and election to the National Academy of Engineering. I first saw Max when he was chairing JANNAF meetings on the mechanical behavior of solid propellants in the early 60’s, and met him personally as a beginning graduate student when he was Dean of the College of Engineering at the University of Utah. I then had the opportunity to take a class from him in fracture. This was indeed a privilege, as he was a recognized authority, and provided inspiration for me. He had a significant influence on the solid mechanics area of the College, bringing in graduate students, faculty, and seminar speakers. I do remember that he liked to really challenge the seminar speakers with penetrating questions. It is striking to me how many of his graduate students have gone on to be outstanding contributors to engineering education and scholarship. This is indeed a reflection on his mentoring, I believe. I chaired a Society of Engineering Science annual meeting at the University of Utah in 1987, in which a special session was devoted to Max. Many of his former students contributed and attended, and their acknowledgment of his leadership was impressive. Again, congratulations to Max on his upcoming 90th birthday. Stephen R Swanson Professor Emeritus of Mechanical Engineering University of Utah
45: Imperial College London Department of Mechanical Engineering Exhibition Road London SW7 2AZ Tel: +44 (0)20 7594 7200 Fax: +44 (0)20 7594 7017 29 November 2011 Dear Max. I was amazed to hear from Wolfgang that you had reached such a milestone. I then looked up when you were with us on sabbatical and it was the early seventies! Not so surprising then as we have been friends for some forty years. Your time here had a significant influence on me in several ways. You always liked to get the philosophy in a project right so that it proceeded in the proper direction. You always worked out the details which is something I have tried to emulate. Indeed I spend almost all of my time now doing analytical solutions in support of projects done by the younger generation. There seem to be very few left who like to do such things. Your advice on writing papers was wise and particularly that of not leaving hostages to fortune in the conclusions when you are not sure, or even when you think you are sure. My wife sends her greetings and thanks you for introducing her to the pleasures of a gin and tonic. You are famous in the family for that contribution. My best wishes to Mel and have a great celebration Gordon J.G. Williams FREng, FRS Professor of Mechanical Engineering Visiting Professor, University of Sydney firstname.lastname@example.org http://www.me.imperial.ac.uk/
46: Appendix by Bill Ko