This article presents an overview of developments that happened over 75 years since the formation of ASME Heat Transfer Division (HTD). Through the years, the HTD explored and implemented many ways to expand its programs and reach both academic and practicing members of the division. The HTD had an Exhibits Committee, and conference exhibits were held at the National Heat Transfer Conferences (NHTCs) from 1988 to 1992. The HTD has had a long and impressive record of leadership within the Division from its inception. However, the Division has also provided a strong contingent of leadership for the entire Society going back at least to the 1970s. From a single professional group in 1938, the Division has grown significantly; there are currently 13 technical committees and several administrative committees including the Executive Committee. The first International Heat Transfer Conference (IHTC) was held in London, England in 1951.


Adapted from an article published in the June 2013 issues of the Journal of Heat Transfer and the Journal of Thermal Science and Engineering Applications.

In 2013 the ASME Heat Transfer Division (HTD) celebrates its 75th anniversary. Much has changed over the past 75 years. The ability to make calculations moved from slide rules to hand held calculators to main frame computers to desktop and laptop computers. Communications changed from telegrams and primitive landline telephones to cellular devices. With the advent of the internet our ability to communicate around the world has become easier, quicker, and less expensive; however, the writing of letters and memos has largely become a lost art. And so from its birth in 1938 to the present, the HTD has changed in the past 75 years. This paper captures some of those changes and memories of the past.

A history of the Division cannot be written without an acknowledgement and appreciation of the significant contributions of John Lienhard IV, not just for his technical and academic work in two phase flow, boiling, and other areas, but for his efforts in history. John is also a knowledgeable, delightful, and gifted speaker, and he has received several awards in recognition of his many contributions.



ASME was founded in 1880 by Alexander L. Holley, Henry R. Worthington, John E. Sweet and others in response to numerous steam boiler pressure vessel failures, and Robert Thurston became ASME’s first president. Thurston was an educator who first worked in the machine shop at his father’s steam engine manufacturing company, the first of its kind in the United States. He later served as the first president of Stevens Institute of Technology and for 18 years as the first director of the Sibley College at Cornell University. At Cornell, he created a college of engineering with emphasis on scientific classroom work and more laboratory testing. So, from its very beginnings, ASME was involved with processes, i.e., the production of steam, where heat transfer is important.


In the late 1890’s and early 1900’s it was clear that Europe – England, France, and Germany – especially the Germans, had considerable interest and expertise in heat transfer. In 1900, Max Planck, a theoretical physicist and father of quantum mechanics, postulated that electromagnetic energy could only be a multiple of an elementary unit, E = hv. Ludwig Prandtl in 1904 created the concept of the boundary layer. In 1915 Wilhelm Nusselt proposed the dimensionless groups now known as the principal parameters in the similarity theory of heat transfer. The Hungarian Theodore von Karman, an aerodynamicist who also did important work in convective heat transfer, studied under Prandtl at the University of Göttingen and in 1912 accepted a position as director of the Aeronautical Institute at RWTH Aachen, one of the country's leading universities. Max Jakob, a German physicist born in 1879, made major contributions toward understanding steam at high pressure, measuring thermal conductivity, and the mechanisms of boiling and condensation. Finally, Ernst R.G. Eckert, who was born in Prague, Austria-Hungary in 1904, carried out research dealing with rocket and jet engine science at the Aeronautical Research Institute in Braunschweig.


By the early 1900s the U.S. had the world’s largest chemical industry with a strong concentration in the Mid-Atlantic region. The Delaware Valley city of Wilmington, alone, had Atlas Powder Company, Hercules Powder Company, and E.I. duPont de Nemours & Company (duPont). Therefore, it is not surprising that the Chemical Engineering Department at the University of Delaware developed a strong program in process engineering and heat and mass transfer. In 1936 Allan P. Colburn published a paper in the 1933 AIChE Transactions introducing the “Colburn analogy” and the heat transfer “j-factor.” Colburn blended theory and practice, which included mathematically sophisticated design solutions. Colburn’s first Ph.D. graduate in 1947 was James Westwater who joined the faculty at the University of Illinois specializing in heat transfer with change of phase.


However, in Germany major problems were coming to the fore. When Adolf Hitler became Chancellor of Germany in January 1933, his anti-Semitic Nazi regime immediately began the purge of Jewish professionals, resulting in the loss of some of its best scientific talent including fluid and heat transfer specialists. Theodore von Karman, who was Jewish, accepted an invitation from the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) to an appointment as Professor and Head of the Guggenheim Aeronautical Laboratory (GALCIT). He had a reputation of being a bit of a character who loved to tell risqué jokes, and he had a habit of turning off his hearing aid whenever he became bored with discussions in meetings. But, von Karman was also a critical thinker and under his leadership GAL-CIT was reorganized, expanded, and renamed the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in February 1944 and was operated for the Army Ordnance Corps with von Karman as JPL’s first Laboratory Director. He also played a major role in the development ofjet assisted takeoff (JATO) and in the founding of Aerojet Corporation. von Karman left Caltech/JPL in December 1944 to organize the Air Force’s Scientific Advisory Board, and JPL went on to become a member of NASA and the nation’s premier organization for unmanned exploration of the solar system.


There were—at the risk of oversimplification-two different approaches to heat transfer in the U.S. in the early 1930s. On the “East Coast” engineering needs were driven primarily by the process industries mentioned above. On the “West Coast” a younger faculty at Berkeley and Stanford (and later at UCLA) was developing a more analytic approach based on the German literature. Eckert authored a history of heat transfer in conjunction with ASME’s 100th Anniversary and described the situation this way:



“A vigorous activity developed in the United States … two names stand out among the early scholars in this development: William H. McAdams of MIT is the author of the book Heat Transmission which first appeared in 1933. In this book McAdams collected, screened, and correlated the available information on heat transfer processes, supplemented it by his own research, and presented through three editions an up-to-date, concise, and unified picture of the state-of-the-art. He created a standard text which served the heat transfer community as a reference book through many years. Llewellyn M. K. Boelter started research in heat transfer in 1930 at the University of California, Berkeley. He had the gift of attracting talented students and implanting in them interest and love for engineering research.”

Although McAdams was the focal point for heat transfer in the ChE Department at MIT, he also had support from other faculty such as Thomas B. Drew, who received acclaim for the first systematic use of heat, mass, and momentum transfer fundamentals in industrial applications. McAdams’s book ultimately sold 50,000 copies over three editions, which even by today’s standards is phenomenal for a technical book.

In contrast, on the West Coast good use was made of the German literature. Boelter began his long career in teaching with his appointment as Instructor in Electrical Engineering at Berkeley in 1919, but moved to mechanical engineering in 1923. He built the heat transfer program at Berkeley with a core of faculty of Floyd Cherry, Harold Johnson, and later Robert Martinelli. In 1932 “Heat Transfer Notes” by Boelter, Cherry, and Johnson was published for the students at Berkeley. Although there were discussions about which of the two approaches was best, they are actually quite complementary, and today we use both. Ironically, Boelter is best known in some quarters for the well-known empirical Dittus-Boelter correlation:




At the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), both the Director of the Heat Measurement Laboratory, Gordon B. Wilkes, and the laboratory itself, previously in the Physics Department, were moved to Mechanical Engineering in 1934. In 1946 Warren Rohsenow came to MIT and Prof. Wilkes invited him to carry out research in the laboratory. Ten years later Rohsenow took over direction of the laboratory and its name was changed to the Heat Transfer Laboratory, a better description of the work being done in the lab at that time. Laboratory activity increased when funding became more readily available after World War II. In 1956 John A. Clark (who later moved to the University of Michigan) and Peter Griffith joined the faculty. Boris Mikic, Arthur Bergles, and Leon Glicksman joined the faculty in the sixties, and, thus, the groundwork was laid for heat transfer at MIT to become one of the outstanding programs in the U.S. In 1992 the laboratory was upgraded by John Lienhard V, now a senior member of the faculty, and renamed the Rohsenow Heat and Mass Transfer Laboratory. Rohsenow’s fundamental and applied research touched nearly all modes of heat transfer. His teaching emphasized fundamentals and practice- oriented problems. In the end, heat transfer excellence at MIT had transferred from Chemical Engineering to Mechanical Engineering: from McAdams to Rohsenow.


But heat transfer activity was not restricted to just the East and West Coasts. ASME invited Max Jakob to the 1935 Winter Annual Meeting and arranged for guest lectures at Princeton, Harvard, MIT, University of Illinois, Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT), Caltech, University of California at Berkeley (UC Berkeley), and others. One of the objectives of these visits was to introduce Jakob to a variety of schools for the purpose of obtaining a faculty position. Ultimately, Jakob accepted a professorship at IIT which allowed him to serve as Director of Armour Research as well. He quickly established himself as a leading heat transfer figure in the U.S. and authored two classics: Heat Transfer, Volumes I & II. One of his first students was Stoethe P. (Scotty) Kezios, who carried out his doctoral work under Jakob. Kezios later became one of his faculty colleagues, and completed Jakob’s Volume II after his death. Clearly, Jakob had a major influence on Kezios who became Chair of the Heat Transfer Division in 1958-59, the first technical editor of the ASME Journal of Heat Transfer in 1963, and ASME’s 96th President in 1977-78.

George A. Hawkins of Purdue University was sent to Illinois by Dean of Engineering Andrey A. Potter (ASME’s 52nd President in 1933-34), to learn more about the fundamentals of heat transfer. Jakob’s presentation impressed Hawkins a great deal, and he ultimately drove from the Purdue Campus in West Lafayette, Indiana (a roundtrip of 448 km) twice a week to attend Jakob’s graduate lectures in heat transfer at IIT during the 1937-38 academic year. Hawkins later earned his Ph.D. at Purdue, became Dean of Engineering, and supervised Richard J. Grosh’s doctoral studies in radiation heat transfer. Grosh later became Head of Mechanical Engineering, then Dean of Engineering at Purdue, which led to the hiring of Peter McFadden, William Cottingham, Raymond Viskanta, David DeWitt, Frank Incropera and later additions such as Jay Gore and Suresh Garimella. Viskanta quickly established himself as one of the premier researchers in radiative heat transfer, while Incropera and DeWitt went on to co-author Introduction to Heat and Mass Transfer (now in its 7th Edition, co-authored by T.L. Bergman, A.S. Lavine, Incropera, and DeWitt), one of the most widely used undergraduate heat transfer texts. Collectively, this group built Purdue’s heat transfer program into one of the best in the country. And for good measure, Boelter, Eckert, and Jakob all served as Visiting Professors at Purdue over a period of many years.

After leaving the Aeronautical Research Institute in Braunschweig, Germany, Ernst Eckert came to the U.S. with a number of other Germans via Operation Paperclip and began jet propulsion research in 1945 at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. While there, Robert Drake, Jr. helped Eckert translate his first book Introduction to the Transfer of Heat and Mass Transfer from German to English. Drake, co-authored Eckert’s two later books. After a nationwide search Eckert joined the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Minnesota in 1951. Over his career Eckert published more than 550 scientific papers and books, and the Eckert number in convective heat transfer was named after him. Following its founding at Minnesota in 1950, the Thermodynamics and Heat Transfer Laboratory (THTL) under the leadership of Eckert, and with the seminal contributions of E.M. (Eph) Sparrow, Warren Ibele, Richard Goldstein, and others, the THTL established a national and international reputation and has remained at the forefront of heat transfer research and graduate education to this day. Many of the luminaries of the heat transfer community including James Hartnett, Thomas Irvine, Terry Simon, Suhas Patankar, Frank Kulacki, and Jane Davidson are, or have been, associated with the laboratory.

After Boelter left Berkeley for UCLA, mechanical engineering continued its way to a premier heat transfer program with faculty members such as Robert Drake, Jr., Warren Giedt, Ralph Seban, Virgil Schrock, Ralph Greif, Chang-Lin Tien, Van Carey, Arun Majumdar, and others. Tien, the youngest engineering faculty member at Berkeley, later became Department Chair, Dean, and Chancellor of the University. He advised many doctoral students and was extremely active in the HTD. Although small in stature, he projected a “tall shadow” at Berkeley and was universally admired and loved. Among his many technical interests, he became engaged in micro- and nanoscale heat transfer. Tragically, his life was cut short due to illness. Richard Buckius, who worked under Tien and spent most of his career at the University of Illinois, commented at Prof. Tien’s memorial service on his inspirational style, “He was forever asking, ‘Any new ideas?’ and telling us to ‘Go to extremes’, ... he’d also say ‘You need to dream of your research while you sleep!’ ”

In 1944 Boelter became Dean at UCLA, started the School of Engineering, and played a major role in laying a foundation for heat transfer excellence. Along with Herbert Nottage, who wrote an early history of the HTD, and Myron Tribus, the faculty grew to include Donald K. Edwards (radiation heat transfer), V.E. Denny (transport processes), Anthony Mills (heat and mass transfer), Ivan Catton (natural convection and nuclear energy), Vijay Dhir (boiling heat transfer and two-phase flow), and Adrienne Lavine (convective heat transfer, manufacturing processes). Boelter believed in a general approach to engineering education and did not like the idea of separate departments, so the program became known as the School of Engineering and Applied Science (SEAS). Faculty members with expertise in one discipline were expected to teach courses outside their primary areas. However, after he retired, the school eventually abolished this approach and formed traditional engineering departments.

In the summer of 1938 Louis London worked on a thesis at Berkeley on cooling towers for his MS degree that resulted in a paper with W.E. Mason and Boelter presented at an ASME meeting in San Francisco in 1939. Later, when London was at Stanford and Ralph Seban at Santa Clara University, they had many discussions on heat exchanger design, which led to an unpublished paper, in 1942 dealing with the s-NTU method. However, the paper was not published until 1980. Today, the s-NTU method is routinely covered in introductory courses in heat transfer. The first serious attempt to obtain heat transfer and friction factor data for compact heat exchangers began at the U.S. Navy Bureau of Ships in 1944 for a gas turbine recuperator/regenerator. This work continued at Stanford for the next 24 years, until 1971. The classic Compact Heat Exchangers by William Kays and London came out of that work, and is now in its 3rd edition. Kays and London became lifelong friends and Kays went on to a distinguished career at Stanford where he served as Department Head and Dean. Ramesh Shah, another of London’s students, and London offered a very popular short course on compact heat exchangers. Another student, Robert Moffat, became well known for his experimental heat transfer research and his short courses on experimental methods. London was active in the ASME Gas Turbine Heat Transfer Division for many years.

In the 1950s, at the University of Michigan, Edward Vincent gained international recognition for his heat transfer work in gas turbine rotor disks. Under Mechanical Engineering Department Chairman Gordon Van Wylen’s leadership, the department established expertise in space technology as a key player in cryogenic research. A Solar Energy Laboratory was developed in 1973 under John Clark. Other important faculty members included Vedat Arpaci, Herman Mertz, Wen-Jei Yang, Gerard Faeth, Michael Chen, and Massoud Kaviany. In the Chemical Engineering Department Donald Katz, Edwin Young, and Stuart Churchill were also involved in heat transfer activities. The two departments thus provided breadth as well as depth in heat transfer at Michigan.

Birth, Growth, and Maturation of the Division

The Heat Transfer Professional Group within the Process Industries Division took root at the 1938 ASME Summer Meeting. However, the actual formation of the Heat Transfer Division as an independent division did not occur until three years later. The first Chairman of the Professional Group in 1938 was J.H. Sengstaken, and the first Chairman of the Heat Transfer Division, in 1941, was E.D. Grimison. However, for historical purposes 1938 is generally considered to be the offi cial beginning of the division. The Chairmen during the first 15 years included Thomas Drew, L.M.K. Boelter, Hosmer Norris, Allan Colburn, George Hawkins, and Alfred Mueller. If several of those names sound like chemical engineers you would be correct. The AIChE Heat Transfer and Energy Conversion Division and the ASME HTD worked very closely during those initial years and the partnership continued over the next 50+ years. The chairs for the Heat Transfer Division over the past 75 years include many familiar names. It should be recalled that serving as Chair was not just a grueling 1-year assignment, but one had to serve for several years on the Executive Committee prior to the year as chair, followed by the obligatory year as Past Chair. But most people who served as Chair, on refl ection, will say it was more than worth the effort.

Through the years the HTD explored and implemented many ways to expand its programs and reach both academic and practicing members of the Division.

HTD Programs and Initiatives

Through the years the HTD explored and implemented many ways to expand its programs and reach both academic and practicing members of the division. The HTD had an Exhibits Committee, and conference exhibits were held at the National Heat Transfer Conferences (NHTCs) from 1988 through 1992. Although the exhibits broke even or made a small profit, they were never as successful as the Division leadership or ASME had hoped; however, the book exhibits sponsored by the publishing companies were always well received. Technical content in the form of “Technical Briefs” was introduced in the division newsletter in 1993 and continued for a few years. This feature was copied by a number of divisions. The division introduced poster sessions as a way to promote and facilitate discussions between authors and participants, especially those individuals who were interested in specific papers. Panel discussion sessions were initiated in an attempt to bring in more industrial participants for whom publications were frequently not an option, for proprietary reasons. In 1992 the division introduced Heat Transfer—Recent Contents, a monthly publication consisting of the title pages of relevant heat transfer journals. Although this initiative was financially successful, the advent of the Internet and other search options essentially obsoleted this approach.

National Laboratories

One of Boelter’s undergraduate students at Berkeley was Frank Kreith who followed him to UCLA to pursue a master’s degree which he received in 1945. Kreith then worked at JPL for four years where he had the opportunity to collaborate with Theodore von Karman. He later accepted a faculty position at the University of Colorado, but was never fully comfortable as an academician because of his interests in the application of “real world” technology. The Solar Energy Research Institute (SERI) was established by Public Law 93-473, The Solar Energy Research Development and Demonstration Act of 1974, and began operation on July 5, 1977 in Golden, Colorado. One of the highlights of the first year of operation of the Solar Thermal Heat Branch was President Jimmy Carter’s visit to SERI on Sunday, May 3, 1978. Kreith is a long-time proponent of sustainable energy, especially solar and nuclear energy, and remains active in this field. Representatives from other national laboratories, including Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Lewis Research Center, Idaho National Energy and Environmental Laboratory (INEEL), Argonne National Laboratory, Sandia Laboratories, Los Alamos National Laboratory, and JPL were active participants in the division through the years.

Women in Heat Transfer


Yildiz Bayazitoglu initiated this group by inviting Deborah Kaminski and Adrienne Lavine to lunch at the Rice University Faculty Club during the 1988 National Heat Transfer Conference in Houston. Since then, the informal group has grown and luncheons are regularly scheduled at ASME meetings and other conferences. The luncheon meetings are primarily social. This venue gives the women an opportunity to visit, share their experiences, discuss their concerns, and encourage each other. A topic of major interest and discussion through the years has been that of balancing the work environment while having children and raising a family. This fun and enjoyable support group includes a university president, deans, and department chairs as well as faculty members engaged in teaching and research.

Society Leadership

The HTD has had a long and impressive record of leadership within the Division from its inception. However, the Division has also provided a strong contingent of leadership for the entire Society going back at least to the 1970s. L.S. Fletcher (Texas A&M), Nancy Fitzroy (General Electric), S.P. Kezios (Georgia Tech), Richard Goldstein (University of Minnesota), and Arthur Bergles (RPI) all served as ASME Presidents, the highest volunteer position in the Society. Gad Hetsroni (Technion Israel), James Welty (Oregon State), Jack Lloyd (Michigan State), Yogi Goswami (University of Florida), J.B. Kitto, (Babcock & Wilcox), and Robert Simoneau (Lewis Research Center) all served on the Board of Governors (BOG), and Webb Marner (JPL/UCLA) served on the BOG twice, once as a Governor and more recently as the Society’s 2008-2012 Secretary and Treasurer. Fitzroy, Fletcher, Goldstein, Goswami, Kitto, Lloyd, and Simoneau also served as Senior Vice Presidents. Each of these individuals made unique contributions to the Society, Heat Transfer Division, and engineering profession.

Current Status

From a single professional group in 1938, the Division has grown significantly. There are currently 13 technical committees and several administrative committees including the Executive Committee. As of September 2012 the primary membership of the Division was 3,892 (including 562 students), with a secondary membership of 3,771 (including 42 students). A total of 14,345 ASME members have designated heat transfer as one of their top five technical divisions. The Division is taking on a more international character; for example, at the 2012 National Heat Transfer Conference the participants represented 37 different countries.

Selected Developments and Trends

With the many Division and Committee activities, it is impossible to present even a cursory overview of the past 75 years. However, a few selected highlights including recent trends are summarized here.


Computational Heat Transfer

In the early 1960s when mainframe computers became available, there was an explosion in the amount of work done in numerical solutions. The computer allowed previously intractable problems to be revisited. Investigators of that era will remember the required stack of IBM cards and the challenge to get as many runs during a day as possible. Some of the earliest and best work was done by Stuart Churchill and his students at the University of Michigan.

Radiation Heat Transfer

Over the history of the HTD, radiation heat transfer research moved from methods to aid in the design of industrial furnaces to space applications and solar energy. The search goes on for the most efficient numerical techniques to handle multi-mode heat transfer where radiation is a significant contributor. All of these continue to drive active research, but recently, much research has centered on microscale and nanoscale effects.

Heat Transfer Equipment

The Heat Transfer Equipment Committee is one of the few committees where there has been strong industrial participation. This committee focuses on applications where heat transfer equipment is an essential component and provides a strong link between heat transfer art and science. Relevant topics include enhanced heat transfer, fouling, compact heat exchangers, heat transfer equipment in the power and process industries, and flow maldistribution. Alfred Mueller was an early participant, and Ramesh Shah (Harrison Radiator), John B. (Bucky) Kitto (Babcock & Wilcox), and James Chenoweth of Heat Transfer Research, Inc. (HTRI) were mainstays of the Committee for many years. Kitto was also very active in ASME, serving at one time as Vice President of Region V (and in many other capacities), and is Co-Editor of B&Ws classic Steam: Its Generation and Use. James Welty (Oregon State) and Wen-Jei Yang (Michigan) were two academicians who participated on a regular basis. Later participants also included James Robertson (UK), Michael Jensen, Zahid Ayub, Raj Manglik, and Larry Swanson.

HTRI is a cooperative, nonprofit corporation organized in 1962 by users, designers, and manufacturers of heat transfer equipment to promote systematic application-oriented research in the general field of heat transfer and associated fluid flow. HTRI was originally located at the C.F. Braun & Company in Alhambra, California. Jerry Taborek was the first Technical Director, and under his direction the organization grew from the original 11 to over 200 companies. Under Taborek’s leadership, HTRI became a very active participant in the ASME-AIChE National Heat Transfer Conferences. The organization is now located near College Station, Texas.

Microchannels and Minichannels

One of the major paradigm shifts within the HTD during the last decade relates to microscale and nanoscale heat transport. At the Grenoble International Heat Transfer Conference, a few researchers including Gian Piero Celata (Italy), Peter Stephan (Germany), Stephane Collin (France), and Masahiro Kawaji (then in Canada), and Satish Kandlikar (Rochester Institute of Technology) discussed their new findings on single-phase flow in microchannels. It became apparent that there was much more to learn. Y. Guo’s keynote lecture asserted that advanced experimental techniques would be needed to accurately understand microscale transport. It was enthusiastically agreed that an international conference on this subject should be pursued. The very next year, the First International Conference on Microchannels and Minichannels was hosted in Rochester, N.Y.

Enhanced Heat Transfer



The subject of enhanced heat transfer has reached a significant level of stature within the Division and the heat transfer community. This development is due primarily to the efforts of Arthur Bergles and Ralph Webb. Bergles was the pioneer in this area and when Webb moved from the Trane Company, where he had gained a wealth of practical experience in applied heat transfer, to Penn State he pursued this topic with vigor. Bergles and Webb developed a popular course in Enhanced Heat Transfer, which began about 1975, through ASME and the HTD.

Micro- and Nanoscale Heat Transfer

Due to the importance of future energy solutions and other emerging needs, thermal engineering research has been growing, as evidenced by the increase in participants and presentations at recent heat transfer conferences. One of the most active research areas in thermal engineering is micro/nanoscale heat transfer. For example, the biannual international conference series on Microscale and Nanoscale Heat and Mass Transfer (MNHMT) has been held three times with an attendance exceeding 300 each time. Many advocates and researchers have become involved with micro- and nanotechnology, but none has made a greater impact than Arun Majumdar.

The situation was quite different back in the early 1990s, when some rather pessimistic viewpoints existed on the future of heat transfer research, from “heat transfer is a mature research area” to “heat transfer is dying.” This changed as a result of a forum at the 1992 IMECE in Anaheim organized by Yildiz Bayazitoglu of Rice University and G.P. (Bud) Peterson, then with the Texas A&M University, on “Fundamental Issues in Small Scale Heat Transfer.” Along with several other distinguished speakers, C.L. Tien gave a talk on the challenges and opportunities in microscale heat transfer.

It is expected that the field of micro/nanoscale thermal transport and thermophysics will continue to develop and play a key role in energy technologies for many years to come.

Thermal Sciences

Science is an evolutionary design in which what we know—what is true and what works—becomes simpler, more accessible, and easier to teach. The merger of mechanics with caloric theory into thermodynamics in the 1800s was not the end of this morphing by simplification and replacement. The caloric line continued to this day as thermometry, calorimetry and heat transfer. Although the first two were incorporated unchanged into thermodynamics, heat transfer developed into a self-standing discipline, with major impact on applied mathematics, fluid mechanics and aerodynamics.

The Constructal Law


The science of heat transfer has expanded in new directions, most vigorously in constructal theory and design. The Constructal Law was first stated in 1997 by Adrian Bejan, where he formulated the volume-point heat flow problem, which unveils an evolving tree-shaped architecture that is entirely deterministic. The Constructal Law is a law of physics that unifies science (physics, biology, engineering, and social sciences), and places the concepts of life, design and evolution in physics.

Noteworthy Events and Workshops

AIChE-ASME National Heat Transfer Conference (NHTC)

By 1938 the Society had developed a tradition of conducting two technical meetings each year: a spring or summer meeting and a winter meeting. That year the ASME held the National Spring Meeting in Los Angeles, the first national meeting held in the far west in many years. One of the 25 technical papers was presented by L.M.K. Boelter on “Heat Transfer Research at University of California.”

By the mid-fifties, the Technical Divisions were being encouraged to hold summer meetings. At the 1955 Winter Annual Meeting, plans were made to hold a National Heat Transfer Conference in August 1957 at Pennsylvania State University with George (Dusie) Dusinberre of Penn State in charge. AIChE was approached immediately, as were several other groups, for joint participation in the Conference. It was agreed that AIChE would host the even-numbered years and ASME the odd-numbered years, a pattern that lasted nearly 50 years. The chemical engineers brought diversity and a strong applications perspective to the conference, especially through the process industries; non-Newtonian flow and heat transfer; fouling of heat transfer surfaces; and mass transfer. In 1998, James Knudsen discussed the first and early NHTCs as well as the organization of the AIChE Heat Transfer and Energy Conversion Division, with Alfred Mueller as the 1958 Founding Chairman.

25th National Heat Transfer Conference, Houston, Texas

In 1988 the HTD celebrated its 50th anniversary with a variety of activities. There was a special edition of the Journal of Heat Transfer, a convocation, several history sessions at the 25th National Heat Transfer Conference, and a History of Heat Transfer: Essays in Honor of the 50th Anniversary of the ASME Heat Transfer Division edited by Edwin Layton, Jr., and John H. Lienhard, IV.

James Chenoweth, Division chair, recognized the Division’s Past Chairs with 24 of the 50 present. Of the 50, several served more than one term. Thomas B. Drew served three terms: 1939-1943 and Herbert Nottage two terms: 1954-1956. R.H. Norris, A.C. Mueller, and H. Nottage all played keys roles in the formation of the Division. A total of 18 Past Chairs were deceased by 1988. Past President Skip Fletcher presented the 50 th Anniversary Awards to 23 of the 31 recipients who were present.

Symposium on Thermophysical Properties

This Symposium is a very important conference in which the HTD has participated since 1959. It was initiated at Purdue University which, at the time, was home to the Thermophysical Properties Research Center (TPRC) founded and managed by Y.S. Touloukian. The Committee on Thermophysical Properties has primary responsibility for the organization of this conference, while the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), previously known as the Bureau of Standards, provides the institutional support and sponsorship of the event. This symposium has been held every three years since its inception with the most recent being the 18th at the University of Colorado, Boulder in July 2012. In addition to Touloukian, key participants through the years have included Scotty Kezios, Jan Sengers (Maryland), A. Cezairliyan (NBS), C.Y. Ho (Purdue), Mickey Haynes (NIST), and Richard Jacobsen (INEEL).


The HTD and the National Science Foundation (NSF) have been closely intertwined since the Engineering Division, later the Directorate for Engineering, was formed over 40 years ago. Heat transfer research has been funded primarily through the Thermal Transport and Thermal Processing (TTTP) program, and a long series of “rotating” program directors have helped to sustain TTTP as a foundational partner with HTD. Included among these distinguished icons and national leaders in engineering research and education, were Eph Sparrow (Minnesota), G.P. Peterson (now President of Georgia Tech), Jack Howell (Texas), Richard Buckius (now Vice President for Research at Purdue), Alfonso Ortega (now Vice President for Research at Villanova), Timothy Tong (now President of The Hong Kong Polytechnic University), and Theodore Bergman (now Department Head at Kansas). Together, HTD and TTTP have striven to identify the frontiers of research in transport phenomena.



Internationalization of the Heat Transfer Division

International Heat Transfer Conference (IHTC)

The first IHTC was held in London, England in 1951. Ten years, later a second conference was held in Boulder, Colorado where the terminology “International Heat Transfer Conference” was first used. The current four year cycle began with the 3rd IHTC held in Chicago, Illinois in 1966 where the Assembly for International Heat Transfer Conferences (AIHTC) was established to oversee the IHTC. The 3rd IHTC in Chicago was co-sponsored by the Energy Conversion and Transport Division of AIChE (the host Society) and the HTD. James Westwater (Illinois) of AIChE served as Chairman and Thomas Irvine, Jr. (SUNY) was Secretary. The 1978 IHTC was the first time poster sessions were used extensively and that conference had a total of 36 keynote lectures.

ASME-JSME Thermal Engineering Conference

The First ASME-JSME (AJTEC) conference was held at the Hawaiian Regent Hotel in Honolulu, Hawaii, March 20-24, 1983. The attractive venue was chosen primarily as a convenient location between the two sponsoring countries.

Collaboration between the former Soviet Union Countries and the U.S.

In 1961 engineers from the U.S., Soviet Union, and Europe gathered in the Soviet Union for technical discussions, socialization, and the launch of collaboration efforts. Key Soviet scientists were A.V. Luikov and S.S. Kutateladze who represented the new generation of heat transfer leaders. They began interactions with western leaders such as J. P. Hartnett, T.F. Irvine, and E.R.G. Eckert of the U.S., A. J. Ede and D.B. Spalding of the UK, U. Grigull and K. Stephan of Germany, and E.A. Brun of France. Eventually, the International Journal of Heat and Mass Transfer, the International Heat Transfer Conference (IHTC), and the International Center for Heat and Mass Transfer were keys to bridging the East-West scientific communities.


ASME was founded in 1880 and the Transactions of the ASME were initiated that year as well. The early history of publications by ASME was discussed in Lienhard and Layton. They noted that only eight heat transfer papers were published during the first 32 years of the Transactions of the ASME. After 1922, publications started to pick up. Also, the Journal of Applied Mechanics (JAM) had become a separate journal during this time, and heat transfer articles were published in JAM as well. In 1945 the Transactions included an entire symposium on heat transfer in fins.

ASME Journal of Heat Transfer (JHT)

Soon after the HTD was formed, the leadership started pushing for its own journal based on the steady increase in heat transfer papers being produced. After about 15 years, ASME announced in 1958 that the Transactions of the ASME would be split up into four different journals; however, none of the four was a heat transfer journal. But, thanks to some last minute heroic efforts by Scotty Kezios, The Journal of Heat Transfer (JHT) was added as a fifth transactions journal. So, the first issue of the Journal was published in February 1959 with 15 articles. More recently, there have been several other special issues. A review of special issues indicates the primary focus has been in the area of micro- and nanoscale heat transfer.

Another feature was introduced in the May 1997 issue of JHT: the Heat Transfer Photogallery. This section features photographs, many in beautiful color, illustrating a variety of heat transfer phenomena. This addition helps to visualize heat transfer and brings real meaning to the old term that “a picture is worth a thousand words.” And, it might be added that “a color picture is probably worth at least two thousand words.”

Since the 1980s, the JHT has moved from four issues per year, with a significant publishing delay because of a backlog of quality papers, to bi-monthly issues. Finally, submission pressures allowed the present monthly format. The editors took the lead in coordinating a common symbol list among the major heat transfer journals, and many journals now allow authors to provide only a list of those symbols not on the common list. This approach resulted in a significant savings in pages over the years. Today, there is a general consensus that the JHT is the world’s premier journal in its field.

The ASME Journal of Thermal Science and Engineering Applications (JTSEA)

This relatively new journal focuses on the dissemination of information of permanent interest in applied thermal sciences and engineering and is intended to be complementary to the JHT. Thus, the Journal directly addresses the concern of some HTD members who feel that the JHT has become “too theoretical.” The founding Editor was Michael Jensen of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, a position he still holds. The Journal is published quarterly.



It goes without saying that in order for the ASME and HTD to be successful, there must be good rapport between the staff and volunteers. It takes hard work, dedication, understanding, and a continuing effort to achieve desired objectives. So, on behalf of the volunteers, we say thank you to the staff for its support of the Division over the past 75 years.