Faydor L. Litvin, world-renowned scientist, scholar, and educator, passed away on Apr. 26, 2017, at the age of 103. The Distinguished Professor Emeritus in the Department of Mechanical Engineering and Director of the Gear Research Center of the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) was widely regarded as the founder of the modern field of gearing and made significant contributions to the development of the theory of mechanisms.

Professor Litvin was born in Russia during WWI and left home at the age of 14 to seek an education in Leningrad (now St. Petersburg). He received a degree with honors at Leningrad Polytechnic Institute in 1937, earned his Ph.D. at Tomsk Polytechnic University in 1944, and his ScD at Leningrad Polytechnic University in 1954. He continued to research and teach at Leningrad Polytechnic Institute until 1964, when he joined the faculty of the Institute of Precision Mechanics and Optics in Leningrad, serving as Department Head and Professor of Mechanical Engineering. At the age of 65—an age at which most consider retiring—he started a new chapter in his life by emigrating to the U.S. In 1979, he joined the faculty of UIC where he served for another three decades as Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Director of the Gear Research Center.

Over the course of his prolific career, Litvin was an innovative researcher, scholar, inventor, and mentor. Litvin contributed 35 manuscripts to the Journal of Mechanical Design alone (see list below), and altogether authored more than 350 publications, including ten monographs. His work led to 25 inventions, three of which are U.S. Patents. As author of some of the most comprehensive and most cited works in the field of gearing, Theory of Gearing (NASA, 1989) and Gear Geometry and Applied Theory (Prentice Hall, 1994), Professor Litvin's name is synonymous with an entire era in the theory of gearing and kinematics.

Professor Litvin was also a dedicated educator and mentor to generations of students and professors. Throughout his career, he trained and supervised 100 Ph.D. students and visiting scholars, many of who went on to prominent teaching and research positions around the world.

Professor Litvin's monumental contributions also extended to the rotorcraft industry. For more than 25 years, he collaborated with NASA, the U.S. Army, and industry on numerous university research grants and contracts. One of his most important contributions to rotorcraft technology was in the development of spiral bevel and face gears. This work produced revolutionary lightweight, low-noise, high-strength, spiral-bevel gears with low transmission errors through careful consideration of the gear tooth machine tool settings during the manufacturing process, a practice now adopted across the aerospace gearing industry. He also made valuable contributions to the development of face gear grinding technology. Together with his Ph.D. students he developed a manufacturing technique that provided the lightweight, high-accuracy gearing necessary to achieve major operational improvements in helicopter gear systems.

Professor Litvin received many awards and honors, including 12 NASA TechBrief Awards, the Thomas Bernard Hall Prize Award from the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (Westminster, UK), the IFToMM Merit Award (International Federation for the Promotion of Mechanism and Machine Science), an Honorary Doctorate of Miskolc University in Hungary, the 2001 Inventor of the Year award from UIC, and ASME's Thomas A. Edison Award. He was also honored by the Citizenship Council of Metropolitan Chicago as “Outstanding New Citizen of 1984–1985,” for his work at UIC in the area of mechanical engineering.

Professor Litvin was an ASME Fellow, a member of the Gear Power Transmission Committee and the American Gear Manufacturers Association, served on the editorial board of Computer Methods in Applied Mechanics and Engineering and was a member of the honorary editorial advisory board of Mechanism and Machine Theory.

Professor Litvin was greatly admired by his students, colleagues, and friends as a kind, distinguished, and cultured Renaissance man, with interests ranging from art, literature, philosophy, and religion, to politics. I was a colleague of Professor Litvin on the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) faculty from 1998 to 2003. I remember him as a cheerful and energetic faculty member, and a loving father figure to all of his students. (Remarking on the longevity of his career, he once told me the secret to good health is eating a lot of fish!) Although he is dearly missed, the mechanical design research community has been immeasurably enriched by the legacy of Professor Litvin's innovations, intellectual generosity, and spirit. His contributions to our field, and to science and education, ensure his memory will live on for generations of scientists.

Journal of Mechanical Design Publications

Journal of Mechanical Design Publications
1.
Litvin
,
F. L.
,
Yukishima
,
K.
,
Hayasaka
,
K.
,
Gonzalez-Perez
,
I.
, and
Fuentes
,
A.
,
2006
, “
Geometry and Investigation of Klingelnberg-Type Worm Gear Drive
,”
ASME J. Mech. Des.
,
129
(
1
), pp.
17
22
.
2.
Litvin
,
F. L.
,
Vecchiato
,
D.
,
Demenego
,
A.
,
Karedes
,
E.
,
Hansen
,
B.
, and
Handschuh
,
R.
,
2002
, “
Design of One Stage Planetary Gear Train With Improved Conditions of Load Distribution and Reduced Transmission Errors
,”
ASME J. Mech. Des.
,
124
(
4
), pp.
745
752
.
3.
Fuentes
,
A.
,
Litvin
,
F. L.
,
Mullins
,
B. R.
,
Woods
,
R.
, and
Handschuh
,
R. F.
,
2002
, “
Design and Stress Analysis of Low-Noise Adjusted Bearing Contact Spiral Bevel Gears
,”
ASME J. Mech. Des.
,
124
(
3
), pp.
524
532
.
4.
De Donno
,
M.
, and
Litvin
,
F. L.
,
1999
, “
Computerized Design and Generation of Worm Gear Drives With Stable Bearing Contact and Low Transmission Errors
,”
ASME J. Mech. Des.
,
121
(
4
), pp.
573
578
.
5.
De Donno
,
M.
, and
Litvin
,
F. L.
,
1999
, “
Computerized Design, Generation and Simulation of Meshing of a Spiroid Worm-Gear Drive With a Ground Double-Crowned Worm
,”
ASME J. Mech. Des.
,
121
(
2
), pp.
264
273
.
6.
Feng
,
P.-H.
,
Litvin
,
F. L.
,
Townsend
,
D. P.
, and
Handschuh
,
R. F.
,
1999
, “
Determination of Principal Curvatures and Contact Ellipse for Profile Crowned Helical Gears
,”
ASME J. Mech. Des.
,
121
(
1
), pp.
107
111
.
7.
Litvin
,
F. L.
, and
Kim
,
D. H.
,
1997
, “
Computerized Design, Generation and Simulation of Meshing of Modified Involute Spur Gears With Localized Bearing Contact and Reduced Level of Transmission Errors
,”
ASME J. Mech. Des.
,
119
(
1
), pp.
96
100
.
8.
Litvin
,
F. L.
,
Seol
,
I. H.
,
Kim
,
D.
,
Lu
,
J.
,
Wang
,
A. G.
,
Egelja
,
A.
,
Zhao
,
X.
, and
Handschuh
,
R. F.
,
1996
, “
Kinematic and Geometric Models of Gear Drives
,”
ASME J. Mech. Des.
,
118
(
4
), pp.
544
550
.
9.
Seol
,
I. H.
, and
Litvin
,
F. L.
,
1996
, “
Computerized Design, Generation and Simulation of Meshing and Contact of Modified Involute, Klingelnberg and Flender Type Worm-Gear Drives
,”
ASME J. Mech. Des.
,
118
(
4
), pp.
551
555
.
10.
Litvin
,
F. L.
,
Chen
,
J.-S.
,
Lu
,
J.
, and
Handschuh
,
R. F.
,
1996
, “
Application of Finite Element Analysis for Determination of Load Share, Real Contact Ratio, Precision of Motion, and Stress Analysis
,”
ASME J. Mech. Des.
,
118
(
4
), pp.
561
567
.
11.
Litvin
,
F. L.
,
Wang
,
A. G.
, and
Handschuh
,
R. F.
,
1996
, “
Computerized Design and Analysis of Face-Milled, Uniform Tooth Height Spiral Bevel Gear Drives
,”
ASME J. Mech. Des.
,
118
(
4
), pp.
573
579
.
12.
Litvin
,
F. L.
,
Chen
,
N. X.
,
Lu
,
J.
, and
Handschuh
,
R. F.
,
1995
, “
Computerized Design and Generation of Low-Noise Helical Gears With Modified Surface Topology
,”
ASME J. Mech. Des.
,
117
(
2A
), pp.
254
261
.
13.
Litvin
,
F. L.
,
Chen
,
J.-S.
,
Sep
,
T. M.
, and
Wang
,
J.-C.
,
1995
, “
Computerized Simulation of Transmission Errors and Shift of Bearing Contact for Face-Milled Hypoid Gear Drive
,”
ASME J. Mech. Des.
,
117
(
2A
), pp.
262
268
.
14.
Litvin
,
F. L.
,
1995
, “
Applied Theory of Gearing: State of the Art
,”
ASME J. Mech. Des.
,
117
(
B
), pp.
128
134
.
15.
Litvin
,
F. L.
,
Wang
,
J.-C.
,
Bossler
,
R. B.
,
Chen
,
Y.-J. D.
,
Heath
,
G.
, and
Lewicki
,
D. G.
,
1994
, “
Application of Face-Gear Drives in Helicopter Transmissions
,”
ASME J. Mech. Des.
,
116
(
3
), pp.
672
676
.
16.
Zhang
,
Y.
,
Litvin
,
F. L.
,
Maruyama
,
N.
,
Takeda
,
R.
, and
Sugimoto
,
M.
,
1994
, “
Computerized Analysis of Meshing and Contact of Gear Real Tooth Surfaces
,”
ASME J. Mech. Des.
,
116
(
3
), pp.
677
682
.
17.
Litvin
,
F. L.
,
Hsiao
,
C.-L.
,
Wang
,
J.-C.
, and
Zhou
,
X.
,
1994
, “
Computerized Simulation of Generation of Internal Involute Gears and Their Assembly
,”
ASME J. Mech. Des.
,
116
(
3
), pp.
683
689
.
18.
Litvin
,
F. L.
,
Kuan
,
C.
,
Wang
,
J. C.
,
Handschuh
,
R. F.
,
Masseth
,
J.
, and
Maruyama
,
N.
,
1993
, “
Minimization of Deviations of Gear Real Tooth Surfaces Determined by Coordinate Measurements
,”
ASME J. Mech. Des.
,
115
(
4
), pp.
995
1001
.
19.
Litvin
,
F. L.
,
Zhang
,
Y.
,
Wang
,
J.-C.
,
Bossler
,
R. B.
, and
Chen
,
Y.-J. D.
,
1992
, “
Design and Geometry of Face-Gear Drives
,”
ASME J. Mech. Des.
,
114
(
4
), pp.
642
647
.
20.
Litvin
,
F. L.
, and
Kin
,
V.
,
1992
, “
Computerized Simulation of Meshing and Bearing Contact for Single-Enveloping Worm-Gear Drives
,”
ASME J. Mech. Des.
,
114
(
2
), pp.
313
316
.
21.
Litvin
,
F. L.
, and
Seireg
,
A.
,
1992
, “
Theory of Gearing
,”
ASME J. Mech. Des.
,
114
(
1
), pp.
212
212
.
22.
Litvin
,
F. L.
,
Kuan
,
C.
,
Kieffer
,
J.
,
Bossler
,
R.
, and
Handschuh
,
R. F.
,
1991
, “
Straddle Design of Spiral Bevel and Hypoid Pinions and Gears
,”
ASME J. Mech. Des.
,
113
(
4
), pp.
422
426
.
23.
Kieffer
,
J.
, and
Litvin
,
F. L.
,
1991
, “
Swept Volume Determination and Interference Detection for Moving 3-D Solids
,”
ASME J. Mech. Des.
,
113
(
4
), pp.
456
463
.
24.
Litvin
,
F. L.
,
Zhang
,
Y.
,
Kieffer
,
J.
, and
Handschuh
,
R. F.
,
1991
, “
Identification and Minimization of Deviations of Real Gear Tooth Surfaces
,”
ASME J. Mech. Des.
,
113
(
1
), pp.
55
62
.
25.
Litvin
,
F. L.
,
Chaing
,
W.-S.
,
Lundy
,
M.
, and
Tsung
,
W.-J.
,
1990
, “
Design of Pitch Cones for Face-Hobbed Hypoid Gears
,”
ASME J. Mech. Des.
,
112
(
3
), pp.
413
418
.
26.
Litvin
,
F. L.
, and
Tan
,
J.
,
1990
, “
Determination of Bearing Reactions of Spatial Linkages and Manipulators
,”
ASME J. Mech. Des.
,
112
(
2
), pp.
168
174
.
27.
Litvin
,
F. L.
,
Kin
,
V.
, and
Zhang
,
Y.
,
1990
, “
Limitations of Conjugate Gear Tooth Surfaces
,”
ASME J. Mech. Des.
,
112
(
2
), pp.
230
236
.
28.
Litvin
,
F. L.
, and
Gutman
,
Y.
,
1981
, “
Methods of Synthesis and Analysis for Hypoid Gear-Drives of “Formate” and “Helixform”—Part 1: Calculations for Machine Settings for Member Gear Manufacture of the Formate and Helixform Hypoid Gears
,”
ASME J. Mech. Des.
,
103
(
1
), pp.
83
88
.
29.
Litvin
,
F. L.
, and
Gutman
,
Y.
,
1981
, “
Methods of Synthesis and Analysis for Hypoid Gear-Drives of “Formate” and “Helixform”—Part 2: Machine Setting Calculations for the Pinions of Formate and Helixform Gears
,”
ASME J. Mech. Des.
,
103
(
1
), pp.
89
101
.
30.
Litvin
,
F. L.
, and
Gutman
,
Y.
,
1981
, “
Methods of Synthesis and Analysis for Hypoid Gear-Drives of “Formate” and “Helixform”—Part 3: Analysis and Optimal Synthesis Methods for Mismatch Gearing and Its Application for Hypoid Gears of “Formate” and “Helixform
,”
ASME J. Mech. Des.
,
103
(
1
), pp.
102
110
.
31.
Litvin
,
F. L.
, and
Gutman
,
Y.
,
1981
, “
Closure to ‘Discussions of “Methods of Synthesis and Analysis for Hypoid Gear-Drives of ‘Formate' and ‘Helixform'—Parts 1, 2, and 3” and “A Method of Local Synthesis of Gears Grounded on the Connections Between the Principal and Geodetic Curvatures of Surfaces” (1981, ASME J. Mech. Des., 103, pp. 110–112; 122–125)
,”
ASME J. Mech. Des.
,
103
(
1
), pp.
112
113
.
32.
Litvin
,
F. L.
, and
Gutman
,
Y.
,
1981
, “
A Method of Local Synthesis of Gears Grounded on the Connections Between the Principal and Geodetic Curvatures of Surfaces
,”
ASME J. Mech. Des.
,
103
(
1
), pp.
114
122
.
33.
Litvin
,
F. L.
,
1981
, “
Discussion: ‘Ideal Spiral Bevel Gears—A New Approach to Surface Geometry' (Huston, R. L., and Coy, J. J., 1981, ASME J. Mech. Des., 103, pp. 127–132)
,”
ASME J. Mech. Des.
,
103
(
1
), pp.
133
133
.
34.
Litvin
,
F. L.
,
1980
, “
Criteria of Force Transmission for Linkages and Their Application for Synthesis
,”
ASME J. Mech. Des.
,
102
(
1
), pp.
38
44
.
35.
Litvin
,
F. L.
,
1978
, “
An Analysis of Undercut Conditions and of Appearance of Contact Lines Envelope Conditions of Gears
,”
ASME J. Mech. Des.
,
100
(
3
), pp.
423
432
.