Joseph B. Franzini, Ph.D., P.E., F.ASCE, professor emeritus of civil engineering at Stanford University and an expert on fluid mechanics and water resources, passed away April 15 in Palo Alto, California. He was 94.
Dr. Franzini was on the faculty of Stanford University’s Civil Engineering Department for 36 years, where he taught fluid mechanics and water resources engineering as well as serving as associate head of civil engineering for many years. He is coauthor of 2 widely used textbooks, Fluid Mechanics with Engineering Applications and Water Resources Engineering, which is recognized globally as one of the most authoritative technical publications in its field.
For over 30 years, Franzini was a special consultant to George S. Nolte and Associates, a civil engineering firm in San Jose, California. Franzini worked on many water projects in California and served as consultant to many government agencies and private organizations, both in this country and abroad. His experience in professional practice added considerably to the scope of his teaching, as he could bring real-world problems and their solutions into the classroom. In his teaching, he always stressed practicality and professionalism. He encouraged his students to participate actively in professional societies, to pursue registration as professional engineers, and to employ the highest ethical standards.
In addition to ASCE, Franzini was a member of the American Geophysical Union, the American Society for Engineering Education, and the American Institute of Hydrology. In 1994 he received the Ray K. Linsley Award from the American Institute of Hydrology, honoring “the accomplishments of a giant in the field of hydrology.” The same year, he was inducted into the Silicon Valley Engineering Council Hall of Fame for his professional accomplishments.
Franzini earned his bachelor and master of science degrees in civil engineering from the California Institute of Technology, and his Ph.D. in civil engineering from Stanford University. During World War II he served in the U.S. Navy as a Lieutenant Junior Grade and worked in the communications center of the Battleship USS New York. He saw action throughout the Pacific Theatre, including the Battles of Iwo Jima and Okinawa.