Laitone, UC Berkeley professor emeritus of mechanical engineering,
dies at age 85
Jan Ambrosini, College of Engineering
- Edmund Laitone, an expert on experimental and theoretical
aerodynamics and a mechanical engineering professor emeritus
at the University of California, Berkeley, died at his home
in El Cerrito, Calif., on December 18. He was 85.
of San Francisco, Laitone received his undergraduate degree
in mechanical engineering from UC Berkeley in 1938. He went
on to receive an MS in applied mathematics in 1944 and, later,
a PhD in applied mechanics in 1962, from Stanford University.
an aeronautical engineer from 1939-45 with the National Advisory
Committee for Aeronautics, doing experimental and theoretical
research in aerodynamics at Langley and Moffett fields. From
1945-47, he was section head of flight research at Cornell
Aeronautical Laboratory, where he conducted research on supersonic
aerodynamics and aircraft dynamic stability.
joined the UC Berkeley faculty as an associate professor in
1947. He explored many interests in his academic career, including
various administrative positions within the College of Engineering.
was the Miller Research Professor in the Miller Institute
for Basic Research in Science from 1960-61 and chaired the
Division of Aeronautical Sciences in the College of Engineering
from 1963-68. He was also an exchange professor to Moscow
University in the fall of 1964, and in 1968 he was a visiting
fellow at Balliol College, Oxford University. As assistant
dean of the College of Engineering from 1979-82, he was in
charge of the college's engineering education television program,
and from 1981-95, he chaired University Extension's Engineering
Department. In 1980, he was a visiting lecturer in aeronautical
engineering at the Northwestern Polytechnic Institute in Xian,
his years as professor, Laitone also worked as a consultant
for many engineering companies and federal agencies, including
Hughes Aircraft Co., Douglas Aircraft Co., the Ramo-Wooldridge
Corp., Lockheed Aircraft Corp., General Motors Corp. and the
Office of Naval Research.
a fellow of the American Institute for Aeronautics and Astronautics
since 1988, was the U.S. academic representative of the Flight
Mechanics Panel of NATO's Advisory Group for Aerospace Research
and Development (AGARD) from 1984-88.
He is survived
by his daughter, Vicki Laitone Cucarola of Moraga; his son,
Ivan Arbogast of Watsonville; four grandchildren; and one
great-grandchild. His wife, Dorothy Laitone, died in 1997.
His son Jonathan Laitone died in 1981.
memorial service was held January 13 in El Cerrito. Memorial
gifts can be sent to the Jonathan Laitone Memorial Scholarship
Fund, c/o the Department of Mechanical Engineering, UC Berkeley,
Berkeley, CA 94720-1740.