Liviu Librescu


Liviu Librescu

Infobox Scientist
name = Dr. Liviu Librescu


image_size = 150 × 204 pixels
img_capt =
birth_name = Liviu Librescu
birth_date = August 18, 1930
birth_place = Ploieşti, Kingdom of Romania
death_date = death date and age|mf=yes|2007|4|16|1930|8|18
death_place = Blacksburg, Virginia, U.S.
citizenship = Israel United States
field = Engineering
known_for = Research in aeroelasticity and aerodynamics
alma_mater = Polytechnic University of Bucharest
work_institution = Virginia Tech Tel Aviv University Technion [Slavin, Barbara. [http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2007-04-17-vt-victims-librescu_N.htm "Professor who 'did not fear death' likely saved students"] , "USA TODAY", April 17, 2007. Accessed February 20, 2008.] [Hernandez, Raymond. [http://www.nytimes.com/2007/04/17/us/17victims.html?ex=1177041600&en=2cfdb0aa1a977f4e&ei=5087%0A "Victims of Shooting Are Remembered"] , "New York Times" April 17, 2007. Accessed February 20, 2008.]
URL = [http://www.esm.vt.edu/php/person.php?id=10023 Faculty Profile]

Liviu Librescu (August 18, 1930 – April 16, 2007; _he. ליביו ליברסקו) was a Romanian born and educated Israeli-American scientist and academic professor whose major research fields were aeroelasticity and aerodynamics. While a prominent academic, he is most widely known for his act of heroism during the Virginia Tech massacre, in which he held off the gunman, giving all but one of his students enough time to escape through the windows. [http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,266506,00.html Holocaust Survivor, Professor Killed Helping Students Escape] , "Fox News", April 17, 2007. Accessed February 20, 2008.] Librescu was shot and killed during the attack. Librescu was posthumously awarded the "Order of the Star of Romania", Romania's highest civilian honor. At the time of his death, he was Professor of Engineering Science and Mechanics at Virginia Tech. [http://www.esm.vt.edu/~llibresc/RESUME%20L.%20Librescu.pdf Liviu Librescu's Curriculum Vitae] ]

Life and career

Liviu Librescu was born in 1930 to a Jewish family in the city of Ploieşti, Romania. After Romania allied with Nazi Germany in World War II, his father, Isidore Librescu, was deported to a labor camp in Transnistria, and later his family, along with thousands of other Jews, was deported to a ghetto in the Romanian city of Focşani.Friedman, Matti. [http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/04/17/AR2007041701224.html "Holocaust survivor killed in Va shooting"] , "Associated Press", April 17, 2007. Accessed February 20, 2008.] [http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/leading_article/article1668407.ece "Liviu Librescu: One victim of the Virginia massacre left an incomparable legacy"] , "The Times", April 18, 2007. Accessed February 20, 2008. ] As a boy, Librescu was interned in a labor camp in Transnistria. He may also have spent time in a Soviet labor camp. His wife, Marlena, who is also a Holocaust survivor, told Israeli Channel 10 TV the day after his death, "We were in Romania during the Second World War, and we were Jews there among the Germans, and among the anti-Semitic Romanians." Dorothea Weisbuch, a cousin of Librescu living in Romania, said in an interview to Romanian newspaper "Cotidianul": "He was an extraordinarily gifted person and very altruist. When he was little, he was very curious and knew everything, so that I thought he would become very conceited, but it did not happen so; he was of a rare modesty." [ro icon Claudia Ciobanu, Diana Lazar, Cosmin Popan, Iuliana Gatej. [http://www.cotidianul.ro/index.php?id=10283&art=27421&cHash=1a46cd5bfo "Eroul român de la Virginia Tech"] , "Cotidianul", April 18, 2007]

After surviving the Holocaust, Librescu was repatriated to Communist Romania. He studied aerospace engineering at the Polytechnic University of Bucharest, graduating in 1952 and continuing with a Master's degree at the same university. He was awarded a Ph.D. in fluid mechanics in 1969 at the Academia de Ştiinţe din România. [ro icon [http://evz.ro/article.php?artid=300927 "Profesorul-erou, inventator şi reputat om de ştiinţă"] , in "Evenimentul Zilei", April 17, 2007] From 1953 to 1975, he worked as a researcher at the Bucharest Institute of Applied Mechanics, and later at the Institute of Fluid Mechanics and the Institute of Fluid Mechanics and Aerospace Constructions of the Academy of Science of Romania.

His career stalled in the 1970s because he refused to swear allegiance to the Romanian Communist Party and was forced out of academia for his sympathies towards Israel. When Librescu requested permission to emigrate to Israel, the Academy of Science of Romania fired him. [Stahl, Julie. [http://www.cnsnews.com/ViewForeignBureaus.asp?Page=/ForeignBureaus/archive/200704/INT20070417a.html "Israeli Professor Tried to Save Students' Lives"] , "CNS News", April 17, 2007. Accessed February 20, 2008.] In 1976, a smuggled research manuscript that he had published in the Netherlands drew him international attention in the growing field of material dynamics. [Jeffrey Brainard and Matthew Kalman. [http://chronicle.com/news/profiles/2037/liviu-librescu "Profiles of the Slain: Liviu Librescu"] , "The Chronicle of Higher Education". April 17, 2007. Accessed February 20, 2008.]

After years of government refusal, Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin personally intervened to get the Librescu family an emigration permit by directly asking Romanian President Nicolae Ceauşescu to let them go.Benhorin, Yitzhak. [http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3388753,00.html "Israeli killed in Virginia massacre"] . "Ynetnews", April 17, 2007. Accessed February 20, 2008.] They moved to Israel in 1978.

From 1979 to 1986, Librescu was Professor of Aeronautical and Mechanical Engineering at Tel Aviv University and taught at the Technion in Haifa. In 1985, he left on sabbatical for the United States, where he served as Professor at Virginia Tech in its Department of Engineering Science and Mechanics from September 1, 1985, until his death. [ [http://www.vt.edu/tragedy/list.php "Virginia Tech: In Memoriam: April 16th 2007"] , Virginia Tech.] He served as a member on the editorial board of seven scientific journals and was invited as a guest editor of special issues of five other journals. [http://www.esm.vt.edu/php/person.php?id=10023 Liviu Librescu - Faculty profile] at the Virginia Tech [http://www.esm.vt.edu Department of Engineering and Mechanics website] ] Most recently, he was co-chair of the International Organizing Committee of the 7th International Congress on Thermal Stress, Taipei, Taiwan, June 4–7, 2007, for which he had been scheduled to give the keynote lecture. According to his wife, no other Virginia Tech professor has ever published more articles than Librescu.

Fields of research

Librescu's major fields of study included:
*Foundation and applications of the modern theory of shells incorporating non-classical effects and composed of advanced composite materials
*Foundation of the theory and applications of sandwich type structures
*Aeroelastic stability of flight vehicle structures
*Nonlinear aeroelasticity of structures in supersonic and hypersonic flow fields
*Aeroelastic and structural tailoring
*Dynamic response and instability of elastic and viscoelastic laminated composite structures subjected to deterministic and random loading systems
*Mechanical and thermal postbuckling of flat and curved shear-deformable elastic panels
*Static, dynamic and aeroelastic feedback control of adaptive structures
*Unsteady aerodynamics and magnetoaerodynamics of supersonic flows with applications
*Optimization problems of aeroelastic structural systems
*Theory of composite thin-walled beams and its application in aeronautical and mechanical constructions
*Response and behavior of structures to underwater and in-air explosions
*Multifunctional and functionally graded material structures.

Death and legacy

At age 76, Librescu was among the 32 people who were murdered in the Virginia Tech massacre. On April 16, 2007, Seung-Hui Cho entered Norris Hall Engineering Building and opened fire on classrooms. Librescu, who taught a solid mechanics class in Room 204 in the Norris Hall during April 2007, [ [http://www.esm.vt.edu/php/course_listings.php Virginia Tech Engineering Science and Mechanics Schedule for Spring 2007] ] held the door of his classroom shut while Cho was attempting to enter it. Although he was shot through the door, Librescu managed to prevent the gunman from entering the classroom until most of his students had escaped through the windows. [ [http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/849070.html "Israeli lecturer died shielding Virginia Tech students from gunman"] , "Haaretz", April 17, 2007. Accessed February 22, 2008.] cite news | first = Doug | last = Donovan | url = http://pqasb.pqarchiver.com/baltsun/access/1255787361.html?dids=1255787361:1255787361&FMT=ABS&FMTS=ABS:FT&type=current&date=Apr+17%2C+2007&author=Doug+Donovan&pub=The+Sun&desc=AS+THE+GUNSHOTS+SHIFTED+CLOSER%2C+NEXT+MOVE+WAS+CLEAR%3A+GET+OUT+ | title = As The Gunshots Shifted Closer, Next Move Was Clear: Get Out| publisher = Baltimore Sun | accessdate = 2008-02-19] [Maraniss, David. [http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/04/18/AR2007041802824.html?nav=hcmodule 'That Was the Desk I Chose to Die Under'] , "Washington Post", April 19, 2007. Accessed February 22, 2008.] He was struck by five bullets,Moynihan, Colin. [http://www.nytimes.com/2007/04/19/us/19professor.html "Professor’s Violent Death Came Where He Sought Peace"] , "New York Times", April 19, 2007. Accessed February 22, 2008.] with a shot to the head ending his life.Maraniss, David. [http://www.sptimes.com/2007/04/19/Worldandnation/Pop__pop__then_panic.shtml "Pop, pop, then panic"] , "Washington Post/St. Petersburg Times", April 19, 2007. Accessed February 22, 2008.] Of the 23 registered students in his class, one, Minal Panchal, died. [http://www.nytimes.com/ref/us/20070418_VICTIMS_GRAPHIC.html "The Victims"] , "NY Times". April 18, 2007. Accessed February 22, 2008.]

A number of Librescu's students have called him a hero because of his actions. Caroline Merrey, a senior, said she and about 20 other students scrambled through the windows as Librescu shouted for them to hurry. Merrey said, "I don’t think I would be here if it wasn't for [Librescu] ."Hutkin, Erinn. [http://www.roanoke.com/vtvictims/wb/113497 "Liviu Librescu: Holocaust survivor blocked shooter, letting students flee"] , "The Roanoke Times", April 27, 2007. Accessed February 22, 2008.] Librescu's son Joe said he had received e-mails from several students who said he had saved their lives and regarded him as a hero, while many newspapers also reported him as the hero of the massacre.

Following the murder of Librescu, his son Arieh contacted the Chabad movement to ensure that his father's body would be treated according to Jewish law and that the body was released immediately for Jewish burial in Israel. With the assistance of Gov. Tim Kaine, the body was released on April 17 and brought to New York via police escort. [Kessler, Aaron. [http://www.wsls.com/servlet/Satellite?pagename=WSLS%2FMGArticle%2FSLS_BasicArticle&c=MGArticle&cid=1173350879513&path=!news!localnews "Professor's body laid to rest in Israel"] , "Media General News Service", April 21, 2007. Accessed February 22, 2008.] On April 18, Librescu received a funeral service at a Jewish Orthodox funeral home in Borough Park, Brooklyn, New York City, New York, and on April 20, he was interred in Israel. [Winograd, Ben. [http://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory?id=3059780 "Hero Virginia Tech Professor Buried"] , "Associated Press", April 20, 2007. Accessed February 22, 2008.] In his native Romania, his picture was placed on a table at the Polytechnic University of Bucharest, and a candle was lit. People laid flowers nearby.

Marlena Librescu stated that her husband's favorite Jewish commandment was that Jews should light Shabbat candles.Rettig, Havav. [http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1176152841184&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull "Israeli who saved Virginia students buried as hero"] , "The Jerusalem Post", April April 20-22 2007. Accessed February 22, 2008.] [ [http://www.torah.org/advanced/shulchan-aruch/classes/orachchayim/chapter17.html Preparations For The Sabbath] (torah.org) Shulkhan Arukh. Part I: Orach Chayim. Chapter 17] On Friday eve April 20, 2007, the Chabad movement spearheaded a campaign to light Shabbat candles. Following the funeral, the Chabad on Campus Foundation announced their intention to establish a chapter in Librescu's name at Virginia Tech. [Katz, Yaakov. [http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2007-04-20-vt-librescu-funeral_N.htm "Hundreds attend service for Holocaust survivor, VT hero"] , "USA Today", April 20, 2007. Accessed February 22, 2008.]

The murder took place on Holocaust Remembrance Day (Yom HaShoah). On April 18, 2007, US President George Bush honored Librescu at a memorial service held at the US Holocaust Museum, attended by a crowd that included many Holocaust survivors:

That day we saw horror, but we also saw quiet acts of courage. We saw this courage in a teacher named Liviu Librescu. With the gunman set to enter his class, this brave professor blocked the door with his body while his students fled to safety. On the Day of Remembrance, this Holocaust survivor gave his own life so that others may live. And this morning we honor his memory and we take strength from his example.Benhorin, Yitzhak. [http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3389555,00.html "Bush honors Israeli professor killed in Virginia Tech shooting"] , "Yediot Aharonot (Ynet)" April 18, 2007] . Accessed February 22, 2008.]

Honors and awards

Librescu received many academic honors during his work in the Engineering Science and Mechanics Department at Virginia Tech, serving as chair or invited as a keynote speaker of several International Congresses on Thermal Stresses and receiving several honorary degrees. He was elected member of the Academy of Sciences of the Shipbuilding of Ukraine (2000) and Foreign Fellow of the Academy of Engineering of Armenia (1999). He was a recipient of Doctor Honoris Causa of the Polytechnic Institute of Bucharest (2000), of the 1999 Dean's Award for Excellence in Research, College of Engineering at Virginia Tech, and a laureate of the Traian Vuia Prize of the Romanian Academy (1972). He was a member of the Board of Experts of the Italian Ministry of Education, University and Scientific Research. He was awarded the [http://www.esm.vt.edu Engineering Science and Mechanics] Frank J. Maher Award for Excellence in Engineering Education (2005) and an ASME diploma (2005) expressing "deep appreciation for the valuable services in advancing the engineering profession".

Posthumously, Professor Librescu was commended by Traian Băsescu, the President of Romania, with the "Order of the Star of Romania" with the rank of Grand Cross, "as a sign of high appreciation and gratitude for the entire scientific and academic activity, as well as for the heroism shown in the course of the tragic events which took place on April 16th, 2007, [...] through which he saved the lives of his students, sacrificing his own life." [ [http://www.presidency.ro/index.php?_RID=det&tb=date&id=8690&_PRID= Press release of the Romanian President announcing Liviu Librescu's post-mortem commendation] , Department for Public Communication, Office of the President of Romania.]

Publications

Books authored by Librescu include: [ [http://www.esm.vt.edu/php/publicationsList.php?id=10023 Publication list for Liviu Librescu] , Virginia Tech [http://www.esm.vt.edu Department of Engineering Science and Mechanics] website, accessed April 17, 2007. Note: All books referenced by this citation.]
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ee also

*History of the Jews in Romania
*Romanian American

References

External links

* [http://www.esm.vt.edu/librescu.php In Memoriam] , Virginia Tech Department of Engineering Science and Mechanics
* [http://www.chabad.edu/templates/articlecco.html?AID=504498 Librescu Family Condolence Page] , "Chabad on Campus Foundation"
* [http://www.esm.vt.edu/~llibresc/RESUME%20L.%20Librescu.pdf Liviu Librescu's 61-page resume (PDF)] ( [http://www.scribd.com/doc/3321403/Liviu-Librescus-Resume mirror] )
* [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/americas/6579077.stm BBC profile]
* [http://www.thejc.com/home.aspx?ParentId=m11s19s116&SecId=116&AId=51793&ATypeId=1 Tribute] from British Chief rabbi Jonathan Sacks, "Jewish Chronicle", April 20, 2007, p.3
* [http://www.jewishvt.com/ The Librescu Jewish Student Center] News
* [http://www.newsday.com/news/nationworld/nation/ny-virginiatech-shooting-sg,0,4542128.storygallery Complete Coverage: Virginia Tech Shooting] , "Newsday", April 17, 2007
* [http://abcnews.go.com/US/story?id=3049678&page=1 Heroes in the Midst of Horror: Holocaust Survivor, Students Saved Others] by Marcus Baram, "ABC News", April 17, 2007
* [http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1176152817974&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull Librescu 'cared only about science'] by Judy Siegel-Itzkovich, "Jerusalem Post", April 17, 2007
* [http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/leading_article/article1668407.ece Liviu Librescu] , "The Times", April 18, 2007

Persondata
NAME=Librescu, Liviu
ALTERNATIVE NAMES=
SHORT DESCRIPTION=
DATE OF BIRTH=August 18, 1930
PLACE OF BIRTH=Ploieşti, Romania
DATE OF DEATH=April 16, 2007
PLACE OF DEATH=Blacksburg, Virginia, U.S.


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