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Shan-Fu Shen, Cornell expert in aerodynamics and fluid mechanics, dies at age 85

Shan-Fu Shen, professor emeritus of mechanical and aerospace engineering, died in Ithaca on Dec. 22 after a brief illness. He was 85 years old.

A member of the Cornell faculty since 1961, Shen was a distinguished scholar in aerodynamics, fluid mechanics and heat transfer. He taught and advised undergraduate and graduate students until his retirement in 1991. The year following Shen's retirement, an academic symposium was held in his honor.

During Shen's tenure at Cornell, he held visiting professorships at the University of Paris (1964 and 1969), University of Rome, Technical University of Vienna (1977), Institute of Space Sciences at the University of Tokyo (1984-85), Taiwan University and Central University in Taiwan. He also was an honorary professor at South East University in Nanjing, China.

In an obituary written for the International Journal of Computational Fluid Dynamics, Cornell Professor David Caughey, Professor Chi-Huey Wong of Academia Sinica, Taipei, and Wagdi G. Habashi of McGill University, Montreal, wrote: "[Shen] has been a great influence on a number of graduate students around the world. His legendary rigor, decency and great imagination were shining and difficult examples to follow."

From 1974 to 1988, Shen served as co-principal investigator of the Cornell Injection Molding Program (CIMP), a National Science Foundation-backed initiative. According to Kuo K. Wang, professor emeritus of mechanical and aerospace engineering, Shen made "significant contributions" to CIMP, particularly in the early years, by providing general guidance in the theoretical aspects of fluid mechanics and heat transfer.

Born in Shanghai, China, in 1921, Shen received his B.S. degree in 1941 from National Central University in Chunking, China. By placing first in a nationwide competition, he was awarded a scholarship for graduate studies abroad. He received his Sc.D. degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1949.

In 1958, Shen received the Achievement Award from the Washington Academy of Sciences and was elected a fellow the same year. Among Shen's many other honors were elections to the International Academy of Astronautics (1969), the Academia Sinica (1972) and the National Academy of Engineering (1985). Shen also received Germany's Alexander von Humboldt Senior Award in 1985.

He is survived by his wife, Ming-Ming Shen, and two children, Hsueh-Yung and Hsueh-Lang Shen.

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