The professor, Burton Paul Endowed Scholarship in Mechanical Engineering has been established to honor the extraordinary career of Dr. Paul. Dr. Paul earned his bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Princeton University in 1953, his master’s degree from Stanford University in 1954, and in 1958 his doctoral degree from the Polytechnic Institute in Brooklyn.
Burton Paul, of Princeton, NJ was born in 1931 and resided at 2157 Wallace Ave in the Bronx. He attended PS105, PS113 and Christopher Columbus HS from which he graduated in 1949. He received numerous awards at CCHS and was a member of the school’s first football teams in 1947 and 1948. Married to Lois, (Hunter HS) and formally of 2171 Muliner Ave. His brothers are Jerry Paul (CCHS ‘46), and Steve Paul (CCHS ‘59)
Dr. Paul began his academic career in 1958 as an assistant professor of engineering at Brown University. In 1961 he joined the famed research organization of Bell Telephone Laboratories as Supervisor of Engineering Mechanics doing work for the space program. He served as chief of Solid Mechanics Research at Ingersoll-Rand Research Center prior to joining the University of Pennsylvania faculty in 1969 as a full professor. In 1982 he was appointed the Asa Whitney Professor of Dynamical Engineering, the oldest scholarly chair at the University. Dr. Paul served as chair of the department of mechanical engineering and applied mechanics and held a secondary appointment in computer and information science.
Dr. Paul was a pioneer in applying computer-aided techniques to the analysis and design of mechanisms and machines. He made important contributions to the study of non-counterformal contacts between rigid bodies that help us understand the mechanics and failure mechanisms in rail-wheel interactions, which is very relevant to the design of high-speed rail. Dr. Paul’’s students remember him for his talent for reducing the most complex concepts to the most basic principles. Nowhere is this clearer than in his book, Kinematics and Dynamics of Planar Machinery, a textbook for undergraduate students in which he incorporated principles of analytical mechanics, typically only taught in graduate level courses, using a unique approach making it accessible and relevant.. Dr. Paul published over 100 papers and served as consulant to legal and industrial firms on a variety of cases involving patents and mechanical equipment.
Dr. Burton Paul, professor emeritus of mechanical engineering and applied mechanics at the School of Engineering and Applied Science, passed away on October 19 2007, at the age of 76.