In Memoriam: UCLA Engineering Professor Emeritus Andrew F. Charwat, 1925-2013
By Matthew Chin
Charwat received his M.E. from Stevens Institute of Technology in 1948, and his M.S. and Ph.D. from UC Berkeley, in 1949 and 1952, respectively.
After graduating from UC Berkeley, Charwat spent a few years working in Southern California’s booming aerospace industry, including with Propulsion Research Corp. of Santa Monica; Northrop Aircraft Corp., of Hawthorne; and Rheem Manufacturing Co. of Downey.
He joined UCLA Engineering in 1955 as an assistant professor, and led the school’s aerodynamics laboratory for many years. He taught undergraduate and graduate engineering courses in aerodynamics, fluid dynamics, vehicle propulsion, mechanics and structures, and compressible flows and was recognized in 1974 with a distinguished teaching award from the Engineering Society of the University of California (ESUC). Charwat retired in 1991, but continued to teach at UCLA Engineering up until the 2009-10 academic year.
“For more than 50 years, Andrew served the school and the university with distinction, in particular having taught fluid mechanics in classroom settings and in the laboratory to generations of UCLA engineering students, as well as working on many significant problems in aerodynamics,” said Vijay K. Dhir, dean of the UCLA Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science. “On behalf of the school, I want to express my deepest condolences to his daughter, Danuta.”
Mechanical and aerospace engineering professors emerita Robert Kelly and Anthony Mills both offered high praise for Charwat, their long-time colleague in the department, in particular for his teaching, broad range of research activities and his longevity as an active faculty member.
“In his early research and teaching career, Andrew Charwat established a reputation as a demanding scholar and teacher of fluid mechanics with special expertise in the fundamentals of hypersonic flow,” Mills recalled. “Due to the high standards he expected of his students, they would often acknowledge the significant contribution he made to their education. However, what set Andrew apart was that he was always an engineer in the sense that he was competent in most of the disciplines of mechanical and aerospace engineering.”
For example, Charwat developed a pilot project on ocean thermal energy conversion that brought several disciplines together.
“He directed a fundamental study of supersonic flow past cavities in 1961 that continues to be cited to this day,” Kelly added. “He also studied jet penetration into supersonic flow, sublimation phenomena, and — together with his graduate student Larry Redekopp (now a professor of fluid mechanics at USC) — completed a basic study of supersonic interference flow between intersecting surfaces.”
In additional Kelly remembered with fondness that Charwat had been particularly encouraging to him during a difficult period for his family, and he expressed much gratitude for Charwat’s support.
Charwat supervised 35 M.S. students and 13 Ph.D. students. In addition, he served for many years as an instructor in physical sciences for UCLA Extension, including courses in physical oceanography, coastal engineering, and the design and applications of turbochargers. Charwat was a member of Tau Beta Pi and Sigma Xi, and was a Fulbright and Guggenheim Fellow.