How did you know Octave? Was Dr. Levenspiel your Chemical Engineering professor? Did you play Chinese chess with him? Were you ever fooled by his “I’m the eighth son” story? Some of you probably want to know if ANY of his stories were true. A short biography was written about Tavy, if you really want to know how unique his life was. Visit Lulu.com.
We’d love to know how Octave touched your life.
Over the past 90 years，Wuhan University has established deep ties to USA. In 1930s，National Wuhan University has built an elegant palatial architectural complex of primitive simplicity which blends perfectly the eastern architectural style with that of the west.Francis Henry Kales（1882-1957）,Polish architect Abraham Levenspiel and German architect Richard Sachse were the architects of National Wuhan University campus.
In 1928，the Ministry of Education of Republic of China decided to reorganized National Wuchang Zhongshan University which was sited in Wuhan and have National Wuhan University built in Luojia Mountain near East Lake.Geologist Li Siguang，the secretary-general of the committee of National Wuhan University， went to Shanghai to invite Francis Henry Kales to design the campus and buildings of National Wuhan University. Kales agreed with him and chose Polish architect Abraham Levenspiel and German architect Richard Sachse as his assistants. Kales flew to Wuhan with Li Siguang and visited Luojia Mountain.After their hard work，Kales’ design plan was passed by the committee of National Wuhan University.Work began on the construction of National Wuhan University’s Luojia Mountain campus in March 1930.
Although Kales’ design plan had not been carried out completely because of Japanese soldiers’ occupation in 1938，he was awarded “Honorary Engineer” which is the only reputation given to a person who is relevant to Wuhan University in its history. Kales gave all the design drawings of early building groups to Abraham Levenspiel. Abraham Levenspiel kept them carefully for several decades and gave them to his son Octave Levenspiel .
The early building groups in Wuhan University were built alongside mountain and river and arranged and distrubuted according to the topographic conditions of the mountain.By means of such scenery creation methods as oppositing scene and lending scene，many garden scenic sights have been created and various kinds of vegetation have been implanted，showing prominently the characteristics of the buildings and making it possible for the building groups to combine harmoniously with the natural environment.In February 1932，the modern campus came into use. Because of the early building groups and beautiful scenery，Wuhan University is honored as the "Most Beautiful University in China" .In 2001，the early building groups in Wuhan University was named “The Fifth Batch of national key cultural relics protection units”.
On November 16th 2005，Octave Levenspiel visited Wuhan University with all the design drawings of early building groups.He donated them to Wuhan University，fulfilling the wish of Francis Henry Kales and Abraham Levenspiel. The 177 design drawings returned to their home around half the earth nearly 80 years later.They were identified as National first class cultural relic and kept in Wuhan University Archives permanently.
Thank all the architects and Professor Octave Levenspiel for their huge contribution to my alma mater Wuhan University.
Would you please give me more details about the design drawings of early building groups?My email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.Please answer me an email.Thank you very much! Wish you good luck!
He had a great sense of humor and honesty. Once Tavy, Guo Tai and me decided to pick cherries from trees around his house. Some branches of his neighbor’s cherry tree were extending over the road in front of his house so they were deemed to be on city property. As such, he restricted us to pick cherries only from the branches that were extending over the road.
After finishing my Masters, he encouraged me to go to a different university for PhD and while explaining his reasoning he made a comment “….besides, if you don’t travel you may not meet the person that will change your life”. Well, he was definitely among the people who changed my life!
Thank you Tavy and may your soul rest in peace.
I am sure also that he was deeply human, both at University and with his love ones. I never met him, I only have a letter from him, but I think that there would have been a real spark between us. If you can hear me, BRAVO et mille MERCIS, Monsieur le Professeur.
Selig sind die Toten, die in dem Herren sterben, von nun an. Sie ruhen von ihrer Arbeit und ihre Werke folgen ihnen nach.
At the end of the course I got a B and complained to Professor Levenspiel that I thought I deserved an A, based on the fact that I had argued more in class than other students. He said he would have to give two other students an A to give one to me. He did.
In the ten years that followed I worked on finding residence time distributions in fluidized beds and taught chemical reaction engineering. Meanwhile, Octave had moved to Oregon State University and on a trip to IIT he said he was wondering if any of us would consider moving to Oregon. I jumped at the chance, and for the next decade I took turns with Octave teaching chemical reaction engineering at Oregon State. But when I taught it the students complained that they weren’t getting the real thing.
Octave had many requests to do consulting and sometimes he would hear them out, and then tell them “I have a young colleague…” One of these referrals led to my position at TRW in Los Angeles as a senior scientist. It was exciting work. I stayed there for 20 years but never again found as good a friend as Octave.
During the years at Crest Place, Tavy was like a grandfather to us. He would often stop by to chat and give us puzzles or problems to solve, lend us classical music, even occasionally drive us to OSU in his Volkswagens or take us to Young’s kitchen for a lunch discussion.
Tavy was a great story teller, and he left us often puzzled about where the reality stops and the imagination begins (especially when it comes to his life story and the adventures). The mysteries were solved years later, in the book by Bekki (“Octave Levenspiel”), when it was revealed that the stories were indeed true! Thank you, Bekki.
Besides the well written books, in which the complex concept were presented with fun cartoons, we had a pleasure of experiencing the first hand teaching due to the absence of Prof Levien that lasted for about a month, when Tavy substituted the classes.
Tavy was a fantastic teacher, carrying individual, who made us laugh many times. Knowing Tavy was an amazing life lesson. It contributed to teaching us more about personal openness, while setting the hierarchy aside and treating us as equal. We are very saddened by his passing and very grateful to have known him. Our thought and prayers are with Mary Jo, Bekki & Keith, Morris, Kyle, Cody and Quincy.
The first Chinese chess we played together was in March, 1981 at pizza party in Professor Tom Fitzgerald’s home. That was the first day when I flew from Shanghai to USA for further study and research and Octave picked me up at Eugene airport. Last time we had played Chinese chess together was I visit him and Mary Levenspiel at Willamette View in Portland 2014.
I had been working and studying with him from 1981 to 1983 and 1988 to 1991. I have learned a lot from lab research, attend class, and daily lunch discussion in his office. We have published and presented eight papers around the world in the field of Chemical Kinetics, Reactor Design, Heat Transfer in Fluidized Bed etc. I had translated his solution book to the problems in the Chemical Reaction Engineering book and published in Shanghai in 1982. I had also prepared 386 Solutions to the Odd-Numbered Problems in the Chemical Reactor Omnibook in 1989.
Tave, you are my life time teacher and friend, I am very lucky and happy to have worked with you. My wife, my daughter and I will remember you forever.
RIP Prof. Levenspiel!