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2007 Honorary Degree

Raymond Viskanta
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Raymond Viskanta has distinguished himself during the past 50 years with research that has encompassed a wide range of topics in convection and radiation heat transfer, contributing significantly to Purdue's position as a leader in the field.

He lives in West Lafayette, Ind., but his journey to Purdue was challenging.

Dr. Viskanta was born in Marijampole, Lithuania. As the front lines of the Soviet-German conflict approached his familys home, his family left Lithuania in 1944 and, after almost six months of intermittent travel across Germany, settled near the city of Nienburg. Shortly after World War II, they moved to displaced persons camps in West Germany. They emigrated to the United States in 1949, when a farmer near Stockbridge, Mich., guaranteed employment to his father and housing for the family.

A year later, young Viskanta moved to Chicago, where he worked in a factory and attended evening high school. He received his diploma in 1951, attended junior college at night while working during the day, and later enrolled as a full-time student at the University of Illinois-Navy Pier in Chicago before transferring to the main campus in Champaign. He received his bachelor's degree with high honors in 1955 and started graduate work at Purdue in heat transfer, earning his master's degree in 1956.

He started his career as a mechanical engineer at Argonne National Laboratory and, thanks to a U.S. Atomic Energy Commission Fellowship, returned to Purdue to work on his doctoral degree, which he completed in 1960 while still working for Argonne.

He joined the Purdue faculty as an associate professor in mechanical engineering in 1962 and remained here, with the exception of doing occasional visiting professorships in California, Germany, and Japan. He was named W.F.M. Goss Distinguished Professor of Engineering in 1986.

Dr. Viskanta has achieved recognition over his career not only because of the unusual quality and productivity of his research but also because of the expansive breadth of his work, involving publications in over 50 different journals in the U.S., Europe, and Japan.

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