Hall of Fame Member Biographies

Edmund F. Rybicki

Few schools have made such successful appointments to the faculty as did The University of Tulsa when the school in 1979 hired Edmund F. Rybicki to teach mechanical engineering and be chair of its Department.  Born in Ohio, Professor Rybicki earned his Ph.D. at Case Western Reserve in 1968 and then worked at Battelle Columbus Research Laboratories for 11 years until being hired by TU.  By then, he had already earned fame by developing with Dr. Mel Kanninen an elegant computational method for evaluating strain energy release rates at crack tips in metallic and composite structures;  this 1977 paper today is a classic and one of the most widely referenced papers in the finite element analysis and fracture mechanics literature.  Upon entering TU, Dr. Rybicki determined to grow his department in status and size, and he succeeded magnificently.  He led the development of a Master’s degree program in 1981 and a Ph.D. degree program in 1986.  The department grew from 5 to 10 professors, from 75 to 240 undergraduates, and from zero to 44 graduate students.  He and his students and colleagues have produced over 200 papers.  The work on controlling of erosion/corrosion problems has become standard in the oil industry and is often referred to as the “Tulsa Method.”  He helped invent a welding technique to solve distortion problems that has been used by the U.S. Army in building their M1A1 Battle Tanks and is prominently employed in welding the U.S. Navy’s deepest diving submersible, the SEA CLIFF.  Because of his knowledge, he was called upon to help handle NASA Structures’ problems as part of a team to evaluate the Space Shuttle’s integrity for NASA’s Engineering and Safety Center.  This team is staffed by the “greybeards” in materials and structures from all NASA Centers, the aerospace industry, and academia: Professor Rybicki “is said to be the Guru of all the greybeards.”  His forty-five years of accomplishments were acknowledged by receiving fellow awards from four different international technical societies.  Also, he has won awards such as the Outstanding Professional Engineer of the Year in Oklahoma.  The University of Tulsa and international technical societies have showered him with 6 teaching and 20 research awards.  Perhaps most telling about his accomplishments is upon his retirement in 2012, government agencies and companies that have used his knowledge and discoveries held an International Symposium for him at The University of Tulsa.  Professor Rybicki and his wife Sandy have 3 children and 4 grandchildren. He emphasizes, “Any measure of career success could not have been accomplished without the supportive environment provided by my wife Sandy.”   The OHEHS is proud to induct Edmund F. Rybicki into the Oklahoma Education Hall of Fame.