College of Engineering News • Iowa State University

Former engineering mechanics/aerospace engineering faculty member Rizzo passes away

Frank J. Rizzo Jr., a former faculty member in Iowa State’s Department of Aerospace Engineering and chair in engineering mechanics, has passed away at the age of 81.

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, a memorial service will be held at a later date.

Originally from Chicago, Rizzo received a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering (1960), a master’s degree in theoretical and applied mechanics (1962) and a Ph.D. in theoretical and applied mathematics (1964) from University of Illinois. He was a faculty member in engineering mechanics at University of Washington and University of Kentucky, where he remained for 21 years.

From 1987-1989 Rizzo was a professor and chair of the Department of Engineering Science and Mechanics at Iowa State University, which was later combined with the Department of Aerospace Engineering. He returned to the University of Illinois as professor and head of the Department of Theoretical and Applied Mechanics from 1989-1991; and then in a second stint at Iowa State was a professor of aerospace engineering and engineering mechanics and member of the Center for Nondestructive Evaluation from 1992 until his retirement in 2001. He then held the title of professor emeritus in the Department of Aerospace Engineering. He was a resident of Green Hills Retirement Community in Ames, Iowa at the time of his death.

Rizzo was noted as a researcher in the subject of boundary element method (BEM), a numerical computational method of solving linear partial differential equations which have been formulated as integral equations. The method is influential in the study of fluid mechanics, acoustics, electromagnetics, fracture mechanics, and contact mechanics.

He authored more than 100 published research papers during his career and provided more than 50 presenter and guest lecturer appearances at both academic and industrial venues around the nation.

Funeral arrangements are under the direction of the Adams Funeral Home of Ames, Iowa. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be directed to the Iowa State University Foundation or to the Mayo Clinic. A full obituary, online condolences and memorial contribution information can be found on the mortuary web site.