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The Passing of Dr. Zvi Rusak

From the President's Desk

To: The Rensselaer Community
Re: The Passing of Dr. Zvi Rusak

It is with great sadness that I write to inform you of the death of Dr. Zvi Rusak, professor of mechanical, aerospace, and nuclear engineering, on May 29. He was 61.

Dr. Rusak served as a member of the Rensselaer faculty since 1991. He received three degrees from the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology: a bachelor’s degree (1980) and a master’s degree in Aeronautical Engineering (1982), and a doctorate in Aerospace Engineering (1989). He worked as an aeronautical engineer at the Israeli Air Force 1982-1988, where he headed the Aeroelasticity group 1987-1988. He spent 1989-1991 as a postdoctorate associate in the Department of Mathematical Sciences at Rensselaer, working with Professor Julian Cole, before joining the Rensselaer faculty.
Dr. Rusak was a stalwart in the field of theoretical and computational aerodynamics and fluid mechanics. His research has helped illuminate the vortex breakdown phenomenon, which occurs in vortex flows above airplanes and in swirling flows in pipes and nozzles of engines. In addition, his studies in transonic aerodynamics aimed to design aircraft wings to minimize their drag due to the appearance of shock waves. Other studies sought to improve the maximum lift of wings by modifying their shape to delay flow separation and stall.  

Dr. Rusak published more than 250 papers and made significant contributions to the understanding of fluid flows, the science of liquids, and gases in motion. His research applies to both aeronautical and mechanical engineering systems, including the design of aircraft wings, helicopter blades, wind and hydroelectric turbines, and combustors. His publications include more than 80 archival journal papers, including the ASME Journal of Fluids Engineering, Journal of Fluid Mechanics, Physics of Fluids, and the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics’ AIAA Journal

Dr. Rusak was not only a respected researcher, he was also a passionate teacher. His love for teaching was reflected in many positive comments from his students.

He was serving as a member of the MANE Department Honors Committee, instrumental in electing his colleagues for much-deserved recognitions. He formerly served on the editorial board of the ASME Journal of Fluids Engineering and the AIAA Journal. He was a Fellow of the American Physical Society and the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, and an Associate Fellow of the AIAA. He received multiple honors and recognitions.

At the request of the family, private services were held. Our deepest thoughts and prayers go out to the family, friends, and colleagues of Dr. Zvi Rusak.