The quite diverse technical and engineering sciences became a part of the makeup of the Romanian Academy at the end of the 19th century, at the same time as autochthonous industry began to develop and as a consequence of the organization of technical education.

Among the pioneers in the technical sciences who were members of the Romanian Academy, builders were in the front ranks. Anghel Saligny was the builder of the bridge at Cernavoda, a monumental steel construction which was at the time the largest in Europe and the third largest in the world. Saligny was also the first in the world to use prefabricated reinforced concrete parts in the construction of bridges and silos. He was to become Vice President and, later, President of the Academy. Other important structural engineers who were members of the Academy were Aurel Beles, a specialist in anti-seismic structures, and Ion Ionescu, designer of reinforced concrete waterworks and renowned professor at the Bucharest Polytechnic Institute, originally called The Superior School of Bridges and Roads.

In the domain of aeronautics, the Romanian Academy can certainly pride itself on its many trailblazers and inventors. Traian Vuia, a pioneer in the world of aviation, built and patented the first airplane that took off with the exclusive use of its own motor and used a landing gear equipped with pneumatic tires. He also invented a type of high-performance boiler still in use today. Henri Coanda built the world’s first jet plane and discovered the "Coanda effect" in aerodynamics. His inventive genius materialized in the over 250 patents he was granted in different technical specialties.

We must also mention Herman Oberth, a Saxon born in Sibiu, who later worked in Germany. He was the inventor of the multi-stage rocket and was Werner von Braun’s professor. Oberth was made an Honorary Member of the Romanian Academy posthumously. The same posthumous honor was also conferred upon Aurel Vlaicu, an engineer, airplane builder and highly skilled pilot. In 1912, Vlaicu met a premature end at the age of 31, in an attempt to cross the Carpathian Mountains in his airplane named "Vlaicu II". Elie Carafoli was professor at the Bucharest Polytechnic Institute, where he built the first wind tunnel in South Eastern Europe, and elaborated the theory on which calculation of the wing profiles of supersonic planes is based. Carafoli was President of the International Federation of Astronautics.

In the ranks of specialists in fluid mechanics (both aero-and hydro-dynamic), we must mention Dumitru Dumitrescu and George (Gogu) Constantinescu, who created the science and technique of sonicity, the transmission of mechanical energy through elastic longitudinal vibrations in fluids. Nicolae Tipei realized unusually important scientific achievements in the realms of aerodynamics, tribology (the study of friction) and lubrication, in which his contributions have now become reference works. Virgiliu Niculae Constantinescu, quondam President of the Academy and a specialist in tribology and lubrication, was one of the pioneers in the field of lubrication with gases, a technique used for, among other things, high-revolution memory disks in some computers.

In the domains of energetics and electrotechnics we could mention the Academician Constantin Budeanu, formerly Professor at the Bucharest Polytechnic Institute, who studied distorted (non-sinusoidal) power in electrical installations and was a forerunner of the international system of units of measurement. Also a B.P.I. Professor was Remus Radulet, who distinguished himself through the study of the transitory operating conditions of electrical circuits and through the coordination of the monumental 18-volume Lexiconul tehnic român (The Romanian Technical Lexicon). He served as Vice President and then President of the International Electrotechnical Commission. Original research with a worldwide impact was undertaken by Paul Dimo in the field of the analysis of electroenergetic systems through modern mathematical means, such as modal analysis, REI methods and graphic analysis. In 1981, Dimo won the international Montefiore Prize.

Metallurgy and machine construction were represented by the Timisoara school, and it was there that the Academicians Cornel Miclosi and Stefan Nadasan gained recognition, specifically in the fields of welding and the resistance of materials. Finally, in the domain of radio electronics, we must note Tudor Tanasescu and his original research into radio emissions, and Gheorghe Cartianu, the originator of the use of frequency modulation for radio-communications in Romania.

Currently the Section of Technical Sciences of the Romanian Academy coordinates two research units. One is the Institute of Solid Mechanics in Bucharest, established in 1948 under the name of the Institute of Applied Mechanics and originally directed by Academician Elie Carafoli. Among its most important recent achievements, we will mention those in the fields of the theories of elasticity and plasticity, the theory of vibrations, the theories of mechanisms and robotics, tribology, Earth mechanics, etc. The other unit is the Center for Fundamental and Advanced Technical Research in Timisoara, with sections devoted to hydrodynamics, cavitation and magnetic liquids, metallic constructions and welding, electromechanics, vibrations and vibro-percussion.

Among the most significant periodicals which the Publishing House of the Romanian Academy issues in the technical domains, we will mention Revue Roumaine des Sciences Techniques, with its two series, Mécanique Appliquée and Electrotechnique et Energétique.



copyright © Romanian Academy 2006

copyright © Academia Română 2006