Biography of Georg Weinblum – Part II

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After a brief spell as adviser to the British admiralty in London in 1947, he began work at the David Taylor Model Basin in Washington in 1948. There he met a number of young scientists who excelled in mathematics, mechanics and physics, but who were not yet focused on shipbuilding applications. The designer and scientist Weinblum was quite concerned about this. At this time, he published his famous work with Manley St. Denis, “On the Motions of Ships at Sea” (1950), which has been understood as the beginning of modern research in the field of ship motions.

In 1952, he was called to Hamburg as the Director of the newly-founded Institut für Schiffbau (Institute of Shipbuilding) at the University of Hamburg and Chair of the Department of Ship Theory. Here, and as honorary professor at the Technical University of Hanover, he continued what he had already begun in Washington: to search for talented young naval engineers that he could systematically promote. There may have been some professors who gave more exciting lectures, but only very few, if any, had Weinblum’s charisma. In 1962, he once again brought together every one of rank and importance in the hydrodynamics world to celebrate his 65th birthday and the 10th anniversary of the founding of Institut für Schiffbau. He retired as professor emeritus in the same year but remained active at the institute, often present and keeping himself abreast of new research. In April of 1974, he died age 77.

In addition to his own scientific work, which amounts to more than 120 publications, he had been a member of many influential governing bodies so that he could promote the advancement of science and, especially, ship theory. This includes sitting on the board of directors of the Hamburgische Schiffbau-Versuchsanstalt (Hamburg Ship Model Basin), on the board of directors as well as the technical and scientific advisory board of the Schiffbautechnischen Gesellschaft (The German Society for Maritime Technology), on the research council of the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg, and also on the Deutschen Forschungsgemeinschaft’s (German Research Foundation’s) Discussion Group for Shipbuilding and its Senate Commission for Oceanography. Weinblum was the recipient of many honours, including the Silver and Gold Votive Medal of The German Society for Maritime Technology, the Medal of Merit of the Braunschweigische Wissenschaftliche Gesellschaft (The Braunschweig Society of Science), the Golden William Froude Medal of the Royal Institution of Naval Architects, the Medal of Merit of the Association Technique Maritime et Aéronautique (Association of Maritime Technology and Aeronautics), the Davidson Medal of the Society of Naval Architects and Marine Engineers (1972), as well as the Grand Cross of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany. The Technical University of Berlin (1960), the Technical University of Vienna (1972), and the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor (1967) all awarded him honorary degrees (honoris causa doctorate). And just weeks before his death, the Académie des Sciences in Paris (The French Academy of Sciences) appointed him as its corresponding member.

His name lives on not only through his academic achievements, but also and especially through the world-renowned annual Weinblum Memorial Lecture, which is held in Germany and the US, as well as the Georg Weinblum Award, which is awarded to outstanding doctoral dissertations, scientific papers or equivalent publications in the field of ship technology. And to all those who knew Weinblum, his memory remains in their hearts.

Translated by Jolene Mathieson, University of Hamburg