Arthur Peter “Art” Boresi, professor emeritus of civil and architectural engineering at the University of Wyoming, a longtime professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign and known globally for the seminal books he authored or co-authored, has died. He was 96.
Boresi, Ph.D., P.E., F.ASCE, served for decades on the theoretical and applied mechanics faculty at the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign before moving to the state of Wyoming. At UIUC he gained considerable experience in mechanics as a teaching assistant while working on his master’s degree, and as an instructor while working on his doctoral degree.
It was upon earning his doctorate in theoretical and applied mechanics in 1953 that he began a distinguished 26-year career as a tenure-track faculty member at UIUC, starting as assistant professor. From this time, through several promotions, and during a full professorship until retirement in 1979, he offered courses in advanced strength of materials, energy methods, elasticity, theory of shells, thermomechanics, nuclear engineering, stability, dimensional analysis, and continuum mechanics.
Many of the over 20 graduate students who earned their doctorates in TAM under Boresi’s guidance went on to prominent careers in academia and industry. From 1962 to 1979, Boresi also held a joint appointment in nuclear engineering, his students in that department benefiting from his dissertation advising as well.
Boresi, a life member of ASCE, published articles in professional journals such as ASCE’s Journal of the Engineering Mechanics Division and Journal of the Structural Division. Other journals included Journal of Applied Mechanics (for ASME) and Nuclear Engineering and Design. For many of these articles he brought on board his colleagues or students.
His books are perhaps better known, however. His first, co-authored with his advisor Hank Langhaar, was a two-volume set, Engineering Mechanics – Statics and Dynamics (McGraw-Hill, 1959). This treatise was the first on the subject to use vector analysis throughout, and it set the standard for the books by later authors. In 2000, another edition of the book was released, this time co-authored with Richard J. Schmidt. Boresi's signature book, Elasticity in Engineering Mechanics, was first published in 1965 by Prentice-Hall. It has seen three later editions, the last being in 2010.
In 1979, after being associated with UIUC for 37 years as either a student or faculty member, Boresi retired and moved with his wife, Jean, to Laramie, Wyoming, where he started a second chapter in his long academic service at the University of Wyoming. He joined the civil and architectural engineering faculty at UW in 1980 and by 1981 had been named head of the department. He held this position for 13 years, retiring from academia again in 1994.
A master of mechanics, it was nevertheless a machine, a snowmobile driven by a stranger, that took him from competitive handball player to wheelchair-bound mentor for his last 19 years. But his sporting attitude and good sense of humor never left him.