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Brennen, Christopher Earl (Mechanical engineer)



  • Existence: 1941 - 2222


Background: Caltech Professor of Mechanical Engineering, 1976-present; Vice President for Student Affairs, 1997-2002; Executive Officer for ME, 1993-1997; Dean of Students, 1988-1992; Master of Student Houses, 1983-1987; Caltech Research Fellow and Research Associate, 1969-1976.


Description: CHRISTOPHER E. BRENNEN was born in Belfast, Ireland, December 3, 1941 and grew up in the small town of Magherafelt in Northern Ireland. He won a mathematics scholarship to Balliol College, Oxford, where he obtained his degree with first-class honors in 1963. He subsequently began his doctoral work in fluid mechanics at Oxford under Les Woods (D.Phil., 1966). In 1969 he came to Caltech to work with Theodore Wu on various fluid mechanics problems, including cavitation and the swimming mechanics of ciliated microorganisms. At Caltech Brennen served in many offices connected with student life, beginning with Master of Student Houses in 1983. He continued in student affairs first as Dean of Students and later Vice President for Student Affairs. In 2005 he was awarded Caltech's most prestigious teaching award, the Feynman Prize.


Collection Notes: Oral history, 2002. A 69-page personal and professional account conducted by Shirley K. Cohen. Brennen talks about his family and early life in Ireland and his education in England as an Irishman in the 1960s. He discusses his engineering work with T. Wu and A. Acosta and others at Caltech; his book Cavitation and Bubble Dynamics (1995). He speaks at length about his role in student life at Caltech and about the Institute's policies and attitudes toward students.; his devotion to sports, especially rugby, and dramatics.

Found in 6 Collections and/or Records:

Christopher Brennen Oral History Interview with Shirley K. Cohen [sound recording], 2002-11-19 - 2002-12-03

Scope and Contents An interview in three sessions, November-December 2002, with Christopher E. Brennen, Hayman Professor of Mechanical Engineering, emeritus, in the Engineering Division. Dr. Brennen, a native of Northern Ireland who eventually became a U.S. citizen, received his undergraduate and graduate education at Oxford (PhD 1967) and came to Caltech as a postdoc in 1969 with Theodore Y. Wu, after a stint with George Gadd at the U.K.’s National Physical Laboratory. At Caltech, he was a research fellow,...
Dates: 2002-11-19 - 2002-12-03

Christopher E. Brennen

 File — Box Z5: Series II
Identifier: Z05

Christopher E. Brennen papers

 Unprocessed Material
Identifier: 2013-00013

The Amazing World of Bubbles

 Unprocessed Material
Identifier: 2006-00017

Additional filters:

Unprocessed Material 3
Archival Object 3
Mechanical engineering 3
Administration 1
College students 1
Historical File 1
Manuscript Collection 1
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Watson Lecture 1
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