February 16, 2010

Engineering Professor Dies of Sudden Heart Attack

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Prof. Kenneth Torrance, mechanical and aerospace engineering, died of a heart attack Monday afternoon. He was a member of the Cornell faculty for 42 years.

During his time at Cornell, Torrance’s work focused on heat transfer and fluid mechanics. He often used innovation to combine these areas of study with computer graphics.

“[Torrance] was a very caring and animated professor [who] tried to make the subject matter interesting to all the students and definitely cares about the students’ success in his class,” Lior Bartove ’10, who took Torrance’s Heat Transfer class, said.

After receiving his Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota in 1966, Torrance went worked for the Fire Research Section of the National Bureau of Standards in Norwood, Mass., for two years before coming to Ithaca to join the University’s faculty in 1968.

Torrance won the Association for Computing Machinery’s SIGGRAPH Computer Graphics Achievement Award in 1994. He was a fellow of an array of respected organizations, including the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the American Physical Society.

A memorial service and reception for Torrance have been planned for Feb. 27 at 11 a.m. in the Statler Ballroom.

Original Author: Keri Blakinger