International Centre for Heat and Mass Transfer

Early Days



University of Illinois at Chicago
1924 - 2005
one of the founding fathers of ICHMT


I had the good fortune to be present at a number of meetings leading to the establishment of the International Centre for Heat and Mass Transfer. By a stroke of good luck, I still have the minutes and relevant notes covering these events. Based on these documents, I will attempt to set down a chain of key events which contributed to the birth of the Centre some thirty years ago.

A seminal event is the visit of Robert Maxwell, Publisher of Pergamon Press, to the RAND Corporation in Santa Monica, California in October 1958, some 40 years ago. During this visit he met with Dr. Carl Gazley and me to discuss new publishing opportunities. We informed Maxwell that the leaders of the U.S. heat transfer research community led by Professor S.P. Kezios were campaigning for a new journal exclusively devoted to heat transfer. Maxwell then noted that he had visited the USSR shortly before coming to RAND and he reported that the Soviets also wanted a heat transfer journal. In light of these considerations, Maxwell dictated a letter appointing Gazley and me to be founding editors of a new international journal devoted to heat transfer to be published by Pergamon Press. This was the opening step in establishing the International Journal of Heat and Mass Transfer (IJHMT).

The announcement of the pending International Journal may have contributed to the decision of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) to establish their own heat transfer journal. In any event, the first issue of the ASME Journal of Heat Transfer appeared in February 1959. In the meantime Carl Gazley and I, with the help of Robert Maxwell, were busy organizing a board of editors and an editorial advisory board for the new international journal. In general, we had very positive responses, with the notable exception of the Soviet Union. Although letters of invitation had been sent to some of their top researchers there was no response and we were becoming quite concerned. In early 1959, Professors Myron Tribus (a member of the Honorary Editorial Advisory Board of IJHMT) and Novak Zuber were attending a conference in Geneva on Atoms for Peace where they met a group from Minsk headed by Professor A.V.Luikov. Tribus informed Luikov that the IJHMT was anxiously seeking a Russian editor. Within a few weeks, in April 1959, Luikov accepted the invitation to become an editor, joining D.B. Spalding, A.J.Ede, U.Grigull, C.Gazley and myself. Professors E.R.G. Eckert and O.A. Saunders were Co-Chairmen of the Honorary Editorial Advisory Board.

The first issue of the International Journal of Heat and Mass Transfer appeared in June 1960. Shortly thereafter, in August 1960, a meeting of the editors sponsored by Robert Maxwell took place in Oxford, England. All of the editorial board members mentioned above, with the exception of D.P. Spalding attended this session.

The next year - 1961 - was very active on the international heat transfer front. In June of that year the first All-Union Heat and Mass Transfer was held in Minsk. A.V.Luikov, the Conference Chairman, invited a number of foreign visitors including all of the editors of the IJHMT. Many of the invitees took advantage of this unique opportunity to interact with their Soviet colleagues. A few months later, in August, the Second International Heat Transfer Conference, organized by the mechanical and chemical engineering societies of the United Kingdom and the USA on a bilateral basis, took place in Boulder, Colorado. A number of researchers from the USSR were invited to the Boulder meeting. Unfortunately, they were unable to attend, having encountered difficulty in obtaining the official papers needed to travel to the United States. A follow-up meeting associated with the Second International Conference was held in London in January 1962. A large delegation from the Soviet Union, headed by A.V. Luikov from Minsk, attended this meeting.

In this same period, the editors of the IJHMT, which now included Professors E.A. Brun from Paris and Takashi Sato from Kyoto, held a series of meetings in Europe and the U.S., to discuss the International Journal and related matters. The subject of the bi-national organization of the International Conferences came up at these meetings. The editors went on record in support of expanding the planning committee for these conferences to include representatives from other countries active in heat transfer research. This led to discussions in the UK and in the US about the possibility of such restructuring. In 1963, representatives from the mechanical and chemical engineering societies in the US appointed a committee chaired by Professor Eckert to look into the matter. The task of this special committee, which also included Professors S.W. Churchill, T.F. Irvine, J.W. Westwater and myself, was to arrange a meeting on the subject of internationalization. Representatives from countries having an active heat transfer program were invited to attend the session which was scheduled to occur in Chicago on the occasion of the Third International Conference (still organized on a bi-national basis). The committee met in Chicago on August 12, 1966 with leaders of the heat transfer research community from Great Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Japan, and the USSR. The major recommendation to come out of the meeting was to establish an Assembly for International Heat Transfer Conferences for planning and coordinating international conferences in the field of heat transfer. A set of working rules were proposed for the Assembly. It was agreed that the members present at the meeting would attempt to secure the necessary approval of these plans by their relevant engineering organizations by spring. The formal ratification of the Assembly and its working rules occurred in Paris on April 3, 1967 at a meeting attended by the following delegates:

T.W. Hoffman (Canada)

J.T. Rogers (Canada)

  1. Grigull (Federal Republic of Germany)
  2. Stephan (Federal Republic of Germany)

E.A. Brun (France)

  1. Veron (France)
  2. Nishiwaki (Japan)

W.B. Hall (UK)

P.M.C. Lacey (UK)

S.S. Kutateladze (USSR)

A.V. Luikov (USSR)

  1. Beatty (USA)

E.R.G. Eckert (USA)


With the exception of Beatty and Eckert (awaiting approval of the US chemical and mechanical engineering societies), all of above-named participants were officially named delegates to the newly approved Assembly for International Conferences. T.F.Irvine and I attended as observers. The members of the Assembly formally approved the working rules and unanimously elected Professor Brun to be President and Professor Grigull to be Vice President for a term of four years. It was agreed that the Fourth International Conference would be organized by France and the Federal Republic of Germany to take place in Paris in September 1970.

Meanwhile, the Second and Third All-Union Heat Transfer Conferences were held at Minsk in 1964 and 1968, respectively. The Chairman of the Conferences, A.V.Luikov, continued his policy of inviting increasing numbers of foreigners to attend. The 1968 meeting in mid-May 1968 is of special importance to the International Centre for on this occasion Academician A.V. Luilov convened a special meeting to discuss the establishment of an International Summer School in Heat and Mass Transfer to be held annually inYugoslavia. In addition to Luikov, the following were present: S.S. Kutateladze, D.B. Spalding, E.A. Brun, E. Hahne, T. Mizushina, E.R.G. Eckert, T.F. Irvine, N. Afgan, Z. Zaric, and myself. Afgan and Zaric reported that the Boris Kidric Institute of Nuclear Studies in Belgrade planned to hold a summer school in September 1968 at Herceg-Novi on the Adriatic and hoped to do this every summer. It was unanimously agreed that the concept had considerable merit and should be pursued on the occasion of the Herceg-Novi conference.

For the next few months, Afgan and Zaric prepared the necessary documents to formalize the establishment of a new international center with the secretariat to be located in Belgrade. A number of foreign visitors were invited to the summer school and participated in the constitutive meeting which was held on September 16, 1968. Professor D. Velickovic a member of the Serbian Academy of Sciences, chaired the meeting which was attended by the following individuals:

Naim Afgan, Boris Kidric Institute of Nuclear Studies

Predrag Anastasijevic, Yugoslav Society of Heat Engineers

E.A .Brun, Paris

  1. Fortier, Paris
  2. Hahne (representing U.Grigull)

J.P. Hartnett, Chicago, USA

S.S. Kutateladze, Novosibirsk

  1. Malic, Yugoslav Society of Heat Engineers

W.B. Nicoll, Waterloo, Canada

G.N. Pustyntsev (representing A.V. Luikov)

  1. Ristic, International Atomic Agency, Vienna

W.M. Rohsenow, Cambridge, USA

D.B. Spalding, London

M.A. Styrikovich, Moscow

  1. Voronjec, Serbian Academy of Sciences

Zoran Zaric, Boris Kidric Institute of Nuclear Studies

Novak Zuber, New York, USA


The following decisions were taken:

  1. The international activity which had been started as a Summer School on Heat and Mass Transfer should be continued on an annual basis.
  2. The activity should be broadened to cover other modes of international cooperation in the field of heat and mass transfer.
  3. The official name of the new organization shall be the International Centre for Heat and Mass Transfer (ICHMT).
  4. The Centre should promote international cooperation in heat and mass transfer by organizing summer schools and seminars on selected topics.

It was decided that the organizational structure of ICHMT should include a Scientific Council composed of outstanding scientists from many countries and an Organization Committee. Members of the Scientific Council, acting through the President of the Council, shall give guidance and advise to the Organization Committee. In turn the Organization Committee, acting through its Chairman, shall initiate and control the activities of the Centre.

In order to establish the Centre, the following individuals were elected to the Scientific Council:

President                     E.A. Brun, Paris  
Vice-Presidents          E.R.G. Eckert, Minneapolis
                                       M.A. Styrikovich, Moscow
                                       D.Velickovic, Belgrade


On the next day, September 7, 1968, Professor Brun convened the initial meeting of the Scientific Council. With few exceptions, all of the above-named participants in the Constitutive Meeting attended this meeting which was devoted to a discussion of possible topics for future conferences. On the same day, Professor Afgan chaired a meeting of the Organization Committee attended by A.I. Leontiev, D.B. Spalding, Z. Zaric and myself. The major business was the selection of "Heat and Mass Transfer in Separated Flows" as the topic for the 1969 conference with Zaric as conference chairman and myself as vice-chairman.

A follow-up meeting was held in Paris on December 7, 1968 under the sponsorship of Professor Brun. On this occasion, the following new members were elected to the Scientific Council: K.O. Beatty (USA), U. Grigull (FRG), W.B. Hall (UK), T.W. Hoffinan (Canada), P.M. Lacey (UK), T. Mizushina (Japan), Y. Mori (Japan), N. Nishiwaki (Japan), J.T. Rogers (Canada), O.A. Saunders (UK), K. Stephan (FRG),and M. Veron (France). The Organization Committee was also expanded to include A. Fortier (France), T.F. Irvine (USA) and L. Napolitano (Italy).

Thus was born the International Centre for Heat and Mass Transfer almost four decades ago. The fact that the Centre continues to play a vital role in fostering research and development gives evidence of the far-sightedness of the founding fathers.




This letter was written by Zoran Zaric, first Secretary General of ICHMT


The idea of constituting International Heat Transfer Institute (IHTI) originated from the “Assembly for International Heat Transfer Conference” (AIHTC), due to actual need to co-ordinate research in this area on international level. Russian and French representatives proposed location of the IHTI at one of existing laboratories in Paris, which was resolutely opposed by Anglo-American representatives.

By the end of 1967, professors Spalding, Irvine and Hartnett motioned initiative for locating IHTI at the Adriatic coast in Yugoslavia, which in their opinion offers significant geographic and political advantages. According to this idea, ac­tivity of the IHTI should be directed toward synthesis of research carried out at national laboratories, and the only significant investment would consist of a modern powerful computer. Professors Brun and Luikov, had reserves about this idea, not for location of theoretical portion of the IHTI at the Adriatic, but insisted that it should have an experimental outpost in Paris.

The matter of the IHTI was discussed also at the AIHTC meeting May 1968 in Minsk, in which our representatives Afgan and Zarić participated. Standpoints about the profile of the IHTI at this meeting remained polarized. Professors Brun and Luikov favored the theoretical part of the Institute at Adriatic with experimental outpost in Paris, prof. Spalding was in favor of only theoretical-computing Institute at Adriatic, and professors Irvine and Hartnett were for theoretical-experimental Institute at Adriatic. The platform that would probably suit majority would be the Insti­tute primarily of theoretical-computing character at Adriatic, postponing constituting of the experimental portion for some time.  So the conclusion of the meeting was that the final decision about the IHTI should be taken at the AIHTC meeting in April 1969, in the presence of representatives of interested parties. It was also concluded that Yugoslav representatives should be incorporated in the AIHTC.

At the meeting of the Executive Committee of the Yugoslav Society of Heat Engineers (JDT) in July 1968, the following conclusions were reached: (i) representation of the JDT in the AIHTC is welcome, (ii) constituting of the IHTI is welcomed for its significance for further development of thermal engineering in the country, and (iii) Zoran Zarić and Naim Afgan are authorized to conduct further activities on this subject.

In the meantime, members of the Yugoslav Society of Heat Engineers at the "Boris Kidrič" Institute of Nuclear Sciences Vinca were preparing international meeting on the topic "Heat and Mass Transfer in Turbulent Boundary Layer". The meeting classed as summer school was scheduled for the period between September 9 and 21, 1968, to be held in Herceg-Novi on Adriatic coast under auspices of the AIHTC and the International Agency on Atomic Energy, IAEA. About 150 participants, 100 from 13 other countries, have been registered in advance. This meeting has aroused marked interest, and from both USSR and the AIHTC came suggestions that such meetings should take on a permanent character. Therefore it was decided that Scientific Council of this meeting which included all members of the AIHTC as well as above mentioned Brun, Spalding, Irvine, Hartnett and the member of the Presidium of the USSR Academy of Science Academician Styrikovich will meet on September 16, 1968 to discuss the IHTI. From preliminary contacts and correspondence might be expected that at the meeting representatives of the USA, Great Britain and West Germany will insist on intensification of activities related to constitution of the IHTI”.

Sudden development of heat and mass transfer science and the intensive investing in research in this field evident particularly from the War on, are explained with very wide application of results of research in virtually all branches of industry. Research has key role in the development of technological processes and equipment in very important sectors of economy, as are chemical, metallurgical and food industries, cooling and drying techniques, industries of thermal apparatus (boilers, heat exchangers) and machines (motors, turbines), as well as in development of contemporary techniques as are nuclear and space technologies. Particular importance of this research is in energetics, and lately in biology (studies of blood circulation). Such a wide interest for this research leads to sudden growth of number of institutions and laborato­ries in industrially developed countries. Under such a sudden expansion the need for directing and interconnection of research activities on national and international level gain in importance.

Our country has significant tradition in thermodynamics and thermal engineering (school of Professor Bošnjaković at the Zagreb University, school of fluid mechanics and thermal engineering at the Belgrade University, etc.) and presently has several up-to-date equipped laborato­ries. In them, apart from the work at Universities about 8 millions of n. dinars are invested annually in applied-fundamental research, of which over 50% are directly financed by various companies. Wide interest for this research and large number of problems posed by the contemporary technology cause that mentioned investments, although significant for the country, are not sufficient without closer connection at the international level.

Founding of the IHTI opens following possibilities:

- Solving large problems in this area providing international financing with assistance the most qualified cadres and equipment;

- Directing research in this area in the country, coupled with increased efficacy of this research using usually unavailable information on the research in other countries;

- Participation of local cadres and research capacities in international projects;

- Promotion of this area of science, and efficient education of cadres using presence of eminent scientists for holding specialized courses and discussion meetings;

- Use of techniques and capacities of modern high performance computers;

- Use of existence of such an institute on the Adriatic coast for both creating new industrial capacities, and for qualitatively new approach to the opportunities Adriatic coast offers.

From the above extraordinary significance of founding such an Institute on the Adriatic coast may be concluded. Expecting that the most probable profile of the in the same area Institute will prevail at least in the first period, i.e. the one with its primarily theoretical-computing character, it is likely that necessary investment costs should not be particularly significant (of the order of one million dinars).

As at the meeting scheduled for September 16, in Herceg-Novi certain decisions about founding this Institute may be expected, it is necessary that as soon as possible some definite position for our side should be taken.

August 15, 1968

Z. Zarić