Ronald Rivlin

Ronald Samuel Rivlin (1915–4 October 2005) was an American physicist,mathematician, rheologist and a noted expert on rubber."New York Times" November 25, 2005 "Ronald Rivlin, 90, Expert on Properties of Rubber, Dies"]


Rivlin was born in London in 1915. He studied physics and mathematics at St John's College, Cambridge, being awarded a BA in 1937 and a ScD in 1952.Rheology Bulletin vol 75, no 1 (2006) page pp 19 & 27] He worked for the General Electric Company, then the UK Ministry of Aircraft Production, then the British Rubber Producers Research Association, which included one sabbatical year at the National Bureau of Standards, USA."Mathematics and Mechanics of Solids" (2006) vol 11 page 103, M. M. Carroll & M. A. Hayes "In Memory of Ronald S. Rivlin"] In 1953 he took up the post of Professor of Applied Mathematics at Brown University, moving to Lehigh University in 1967 to become director of the Center for the Application of Mathematics until his retirement in 1980. He married Violet LoRusso in 1948 (they had a son, John) and became an American citizen in 1955.


His work began with his 1944 observation that "although very little force is required to detach Scotch tape from an adherend, the work expended in doing so is very large". This is from the elastic effects of the adhesive, on which he commented even if "one idealized the adhesive as a perfectly elastic material there appeared to be no body of mathematical theory which would provide a basis for calculations". Existing theories were only on very small deformations, so from 1945 to 1951, Rivlin was one of creators of the modern theory of large elastic deformations, including theory of Neo-Hookean solids and Mooney-Rivlin solids."Journal of Elasticity" (2005) 81: 111–113 A. N. Gent "Ronald S. Rivlin"] He also made major contributions to the theory of non-Newtonian fluid flow, including in the Rivlin-Erickson expansion.

Honours and Awards

*Bingham Medal of the Society of Rheology in 1958.
*Timoshenko Medal of the ASME in 1987
*Charles Goodyear Medal of the American Chemical Society's Rubber Division in 1992.
*von Karman Medal of the American Society of Civil Engineers in 1993
*Member of the National Academy of Engineering
*Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences
*President of the [ Society of Rheology]
*Chairman of the [ Society for Natural Philosophy]
*Chairman of the US [ National Committee for Theoretical and Applied Mechanics]
*Chairman, Applied Mechanics Division, ASME

On 18 April 2008, he was selected to be inducted into the International Rubber Science Hall of Fame (IRSHF) (ceremony on 6 November 2008). [ IRSHF] website of the Rubber Division of the American Chemical Society] He had previously been asked to speak at the 1972 IRSHF induction of Melvyn Mooney, but misunderstood, thinking he was to be inducted. On being told that candidates had to be deceased, he said "That's too great a price to pay".

External links

* [ Ronald Rivlin in Mathematical Genealogy project]
* [ Rivlin's contribution to Fracture Mechanics in Rubber]
* [ photograph of Ronald Rivlin] from [ Nabarro-Hart]
* [ early photograph of Ronald Rivlin ] from [ AIP]
* [ of Rivlin] from [ IRSHF]


* TOMAS CARLSSON, FRANK M. LESLIE, "The development of theory for flow and dynamic effects for nematic liquid crystals", Liquid Crystals, V 26, N 9 / September 1, 1999, pp. 1267 - 1280, URL:

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