In Memory of Professor Olgierd C. Zienkiewicz (1921–2009)


  • Roland W. Lewis

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Wales Swansea, Singleton Park, Swansea SA2 7AE, U.K.
    • Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Wales Swansea, Singleton Park, Swansea SA2 7AE, U.K.
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This special issue of the International Journal for Numerical Methods in Engineering is dedicated to the memory of one of the great engineering innovators of the late 20th century, Professor Olgierd C. Zienkiewicz. Olek, as he was known, took up the chair of Civil Engineering at Swansea in 1961. His dynamic and charismatic personality soon made it obvious to all, staff and research students alike, that someone very special had arrived to lead the department.

The field of finite elements was in its infancy at that time, however, Olek's driving energy soon attracted the best researchers from all around the world. Many of his students were later to become eminent researchers in their own right. The first textbook on finite elements, co-authored with Kai Cheung, was published in 1967 and it was also at this time that Olek's friendship with Richard H. Gallagher commenced. Dick was to visit Swansea many times and the concept of a numerical journal was spawned during this period. This resulted in the first journal, dedicated to the Finite Element method, appearing in 1969—the rest is history. However, Olek was an avid traveller, which required someone based in Swansea to help run the journal! I became involved as an assistant editor in 1971, and for the next two decades worked closely with Olek and Dick. An obituary to Olek was published in the journal, Volume 80, No. 1, October, 2009 1, which the interested reader may refer for a more complete history of his remarkable life.

The journal, abbreviated to IJNME, grew in stature and influence over the years, culminating in its present day reputation and frequency. Our editorial relationship was always a happy and productive one, which enabled the journal to flourish and grow. It is appropriate and becoming that the final compliment to Olek's life and work will be published in this journal. His legion of friends, colleagues and ex- research students from around the globe have contributed their manuscripts to this special issue which will become a fitting epitaph for a great engineer.


Honorary Editor