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Table of Contents


AbstractImportant DatesOccupationPlaces




Archival as AuthorArchival as SubjectPublished as AuthorPublished as Subject

C. Truesdell



February 18, 1919 – January 14, 2000

Authorized Form of Name

Truesdell, C. (Clifford), 1919-2000

Additional Forms of Names

Truesdell, C.

Truesdell, Clifford, 1919-2000

Truesdell, Clifford Ambrose, 1919-2000



Dr. Clifford A. Truesdell III was awarded the Bingham Medal of the Society of Rheology in 1963. Truesdell was affiliated with a great many institutions, including Caltech, Brown University, Princeton University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the US Naval Ordinance Laboratory and US Naval Research Lab, University of Maryland, Indiana University, University of Wisconsin, the US National Bureau of Standards, the US National Science Foundation, Johns Hopkins University, the Society for Natural Philosophy, the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, and the US National Research Council.

Important Dates

February 18, 1919Birth, Los Angeles (Calif.).

1936Graduated, Polytechnic High School, Los Angeles (Calif.).

1940 – 1942Assistant in history, debating, and mathematics, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena (Calif.).

1941BS in Mathematics and Physics, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena (Calif.).

1942MS in Mathematics, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena (Calif.).

1942Awarded a Certificate in Mechanics, Brown University, Providence (R.I.).

1942Assistant in Mechanics, Brown University, Providence (R.I.).

1942 – 1943Instructor of Mathematics, Princeton University, Princeton (N.J.).

1943PhD in Mathematics, Princeton University, Princeton (N.J.).

1943 – 1944Instructor of Mathematics, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor (Mich.).

1944 – 1946Staff worker, Radiation Laboratory, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge (Mass.).

1946 – 1948Chief of Theoretical Mechanics Subdivision, US Naval Ordinance Laboratory (now disestablished).

1946 – 1950Lecturer in Mathematics (1946-1947); Assistant Professor of Mathematics (1947-1949); Associate Professor of Mathematics (1949-1950), University of Maryland, College Park, College Park (Md.).

1948 – 1955Head of Theoretical Mechanics section (1948-1951); Consultant (1951-1955), US Naval Research Lab, Washington (D.C.).

1950 – 1961Professor of Mathematics, Graduate Institute for Applied Mathematics, Indiana University, Bloomington (Ill.).

1954 – 1956Member, Committee on Applied Mathematics, US National Research Council.

1956 – 1958Sponsor for elasticity, American Society of Mechanical Engineers.

1957Fellow, John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation.

1958Member, Mathematics Research Center, US Army, University of Wisconsin.

1959General chairman, Conference on the Foundations of Mechanics and Thermodynamics, National Bureau of Standards.

1959 – 1962Consultant, US National Bureau of Standards.

1960 – 1961Senior Post-doctoral Fellow, US National Science Foundation.

1961 – 1989Professor of Rational Mechanics, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore (Md.).

1963Awarded the Bingham Medal, Society of Rheology.

1963Co-founded, Society for Natural Philosophy.

1963 – 1965Secretary, Society for Natural Philosophy.

1978Awarded the George David Birkhoff Prize in Applied Mathematics, American Mathematical Society and The Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics.

January 14, 2000Death, Baltimore (Md.).


Applied mathematician.



Los Angeles (Calif.)

Undergraduate Education

Pasadena (Calif.)

Graduate Education

Pasadena (Calif.)

Providence (R.I.)

Princeton (N.J.)


Ann Arbor (Mich.)

Cambridge (Mass.)

College Park (Md.)

Washington (D.C.)

Bloomington (Ill.)

Baltimore (Md.)


Baltimore (Md.)




Heath, Helen Truesdell


Advisors & Collaborators

Bateman, Harry, 1882-1946

Advisor, California Institute of Technology.

Lefschetz, Solomon, 1884-1972


Markovitz, Hershel, 1921-2006

Co-founded the Society for Natural Philosophy.

Millikan, Robert Andrews, 1868-1953


Noll, W. (Walter), 1925-

Co-founded the Society for Natural Philosophy.

Rivlin, R. S. (Ronald Samuel), 1915-2005

Co-founded the Society for Natural Philosophy.


Adams, Lucy

Brush, Stephen G.


Major Positions

Indiana University, Bloomington

Professor of Mathematics, Graduate Institute for Applied Mathematics.

Johns Hopkins University. Department of Mechanics

Professor of Rational Mechanics.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Staff member.

National Institute of Standards and Technology (U.S.)

Consultant, and Chairman of Conference on the Foundations of Mechanics and Thermodynamics.

National Science Foundation (U.S.)

Senior Post-doctoral Fellow.

Naval Ordnance Laboratory (White Oak, Md.)

Chief of Theoretical Mechanics Subdivision.

Naval Research Laboratory (U.S.)

Head of Theoretical Mechanics section; and Consultant.

University of Maryland, College Park. Department of Mathematics

Lecturer in Mathematics; Assistant Professor of Mathematics; Associate Professor of Mathematics.

University of Michigan

Instructor in Mathematics.

Professional Activities & Affiliations

American Mathematical Society

Awarded the George David Birkhoff Prize in Applied Mathematics (1978).

American Society of Mechanical Engineers

Brown University

Assistant in Mechanics; Awarded Certificate in Mechanics (1942); and Instructor of Mathematics.

California Institute of Technology

Assistant in History, Debating, and Mathematics; B.Sc in Mathematics and Physics (1941); and MS in Mathematics (1942).

John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation


National Research Council (U.S.)

Member, Committee on Applied Mathematics.

Princeton University. Department of Mathematics

PhD in Mathematics, Princeton University (1943).

Society for Natural Philosophy

Co-founder, and Secretary.

Society of Rheology (U.S.)

Recipient of the 1963 Bingham Medal.

University of Wisconsin--Madison

Member, Mathematics Research Center.


Archival Resources


C. Truesdell papers, 1939-1989.

Center for American History. University Archives

University of Texas at Austin

Austin, TX 78713, USA

Clifford Truesdell autobiography, 1978.

Niels Bohr Library & Archives

American Institute of Physics

One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740, USA

The mechanics of Leonardo da Vinci, 1953-1955.

Niels Bohr Library & Archives

American Institute of Physics

One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740, USA


Helen Heath recollections of Clifford Ambrose Truesdell III, 1968.

Niels Bohr Library & Archives

American Institute of Physics

One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740, USA

Lucy Adams recollections of Clifford Truesdell, 1984.

Niels Bohr Library & Archives

American Institute of Physics

One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740, USA

Ronald S. Rivlin papers, circa 1940-2005.

The Bancroft Library

University of California, Berkeley

Berkeley, CA, 94720-6000, USA

Stephen G. Brush papers, 1888-2006.

Hornbake Library. Archives and Manuscripts Department

University of Maryland

College Park, MD 20742, USA

Published Resources


Archive for history of exact sciences.

Essays in the history of mechanics / C. Truesdell.

Great scientists of old as heretics in "the scientific method" / C. Truesdell.

Mechanics of solids / editor, C. Truesdell.

Six lectures on modern natural philosophy [by] C. Truesdell.

The concepts and logic of classical thermodynamics as a theory of heat engines, rigorously constructed upon the foundation laid by S. Carnot and F. Reech / C. Truesdell and S. Bharatha.

The kinematics of vorticity.

The tragicomedy of classical thermodynamics : course held at the Department of Mechanics of Solids (July 1971).

The tragicomical history of thermodynamics, 1822-1854 / C. Truesdell.


"Bingham Medal," regarding Truesdell. Physics Today 16, 11, 92 (1963).

New York Times Obituary for Clifford Truesdell.

The Scientific Life and Influence of Clifford Ambrose Truesdell III/ J. M. Ball and R. D. James.

University of St Andrews, School of Mathematics and Statistics biography of Clifford Ambrose Truesdell III.