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Nicholas Tschoegl Oral History Interview with Shirley K. Cohen

 Digital Record
Identifier: 2016-02-17-000160


  • Other: 2016 February 17


An interview in five sessions, April-June 2001, with Nicholas W. Tschoegl, professor of chemical engineering, emeritus, in the Division of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering. Dr. Tschoegl, a native of Moravia, recalls his French/Austrian background, World War II service in Hungarian Army, and postwar control of Hungary by the Communists. Leaves Hungary in October 1948, via Austria, arrving in Australia 1949. BSc from New South Wales University of Technology; PhD in rheology with A. E. Alexander, University of New South Wales, 1958. Discusses his work on dough rheology, Bread Research Institute of Australia. Work with J. D. Ferry, University of Wisconsin, 1961-1963, on polymers. Stanford Research Institute, 1963-1965. Joins Caltech faculty, 1965, as associate professor of materials science in engineering division. Works on solid propellants for rockets, funded by air force. In 1967, becomes professor of chemical engineering in Division of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering. Discusses polymers and synthetic rubber. Recalls visiting professorships: Delft; Gutenberg University, Mainz; Imperial College, London; Centre de Recherches sur les Macromolécules, Strasbourg; ETH, Zurich. Discusses block copolymers and spectral functions; time-dependent properties of polymers; WLF [Williams-Landel-Ferry] equation to block copolymers and other multitransition systems; development of FMT [Fillers-Moonan-Tschoegl] equation. Formation of International Congress and International Committee on Rheology. Recalls Caltech's interaction with Soviet scientists and subsequent estrangement, mid-1980s. Discusses managing Caltech's Watson lectures; post-retirement visiting professorship at University of Ljubljana, with Igor Emri; Emri's work at Caltech with Wolfgang Knauss; founding of journal Mechanics of Time-Dependent Materials. Discusses his two books: The Phenomenological Theory of Linear Viscoelastic Behavior and Fundamentals of Equilibrium and Steady-State Thermodynamics. Recalls consultancies: with JPL's polymer section, 1960s; Phillips Petroleum, 1968-1983; Firestone Tire & Rubber, 1974-1980; Naval Weapons Center. Comments on colleagues and past Caltech presidents; recalls death of chemical engineer and Caltech vice president William Corcoran. Tschoegl concludes interview by listing his memberships in professional societies and other professional activities.

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