Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Charles W. Bert, 1929-2015

By Danielle Geier
The AME family lost one of its valuable members, Dr. Charles W. Bert, on February 3, 2015. Bert began his journey at the University of Oklahoma in 1963, where he served the School of Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering as a Professor for 41 years before retiring in 2004. During this time, Bert served as Director from 1972-1978 and again in 1990-1995. He also held the Benjamin H. Perkinson Chair during his time at AME. In 1981, he was the recipient of the highest recognition for research at the University of Oklahoma—the George Lynn Cross Research Professorship. He was inducted into the Oklahoma Higher Education Hall of Fame in 2011.

“I am deeply saddened to lose one of our best. Charlie was a giant in the broad field of mechanics and composite materials,” said M. Cengiz Altan, AME Director. “He has been such a positive influence on me since I started my career at OU. He has always been supportive and provided encouragement to many AME faculty, as well as to countless undergraduate and graduate students. I will miss him greatly as a mentor and a friend.”

Bert’s work in composite materials earned him an international reputation in the field; he authored and co-authored 205 papers in refereed journals, published one monograph, edited three books, produced 13 book chapters and 158 other papers. In connection with his research, he mentored 26 doctoral students and over 40 master’s students. He was a registered Professional Engineer, and consulted on numerous projects including the design of the propulsion clutch for the USS Nautilus (first nuclear submarine), first annular air-oil shock absorber, steel-belted radial tires and NASA Space Shuttle payload-bay doors. Charlie was elected as Fellow to seven technical organizations, including the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics and the American Society for Composites.

“Dr. Bert was a great mentor and guided me well throughout my career. His reputation and research accomplishments were spread worldwide. In international or national meetings I attended, there were always people who inquired about him when they saw my name tag mentioning OU,” said Subramanyam R. Gollahalli, AME Professor. “Above all, he was a great person. We miss him very much.”

The AME family would like to send its deepest condolences to the Bert family. Charlie’s kind heart, his encouraging words and supportive attitude along with his teaching, excellent research contributions and his friendship will be dearly missed by all.

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