Thomas R. Kane

Last updated
Thomas R. Kane
BornMarch 23, 1924
DiedFebruary 16, 2019(2019-02-16) (aged 94)
ResidenceUnited States
Alma mater Columbia University (BS Mathematics and Civil Engineering; MS Civil Engineering; PhD Applied Mechanics)
Awards D'Alembert Award (2005)
Scientific career
Fields Applied mechanics
Institutions Stanford University
Notable students Peter Likins

Thomas Reif Kane [1] (March 23, 1924 February 16, 2019) [2] was a professor emeritus of applied mechanics at Stanford University. [3]

Applied mechanics is a branch of the physical sciences and the practical application of mechanics. Pure mechanics describes the response of bodies or systems of bodies to external forces. Some examples of mechanical systems include the flow of a liquid under pressure, the fracture of a solid from an applied force, or the vibration of an ear in response to sound. A practitioner of the discipline is known as a mechanician.

Stanford University Private research university in Stanford, California

Leland Stanford Junior University is a private research university in Stanford, California. Stanford is known for its academic strength, wealth, selectivity, proximity to Silicon Valley, and ranking as one of the world's top universities.


Early life

Kane was born in Vienna, Austria. He immigrated to the United States with his parents in 1938 after Austria fell to Nazi Germany. In 1943, he enlisted in the United States Army and was stationed in the South Pacific as a combat photographer. From 1946 to 1953 he attended Columbia University during which he earned two BS degrees in mathematics and civil engineering, as well as an MS in civil engineering and a PhD in applied mechanics. [1]

Vienna Capital of Austria

Vienna is the federal capital, largest city and one of nine states of Austria. Vienna is Austria's primate city, with a population of about 1.9 million, and its cultural, economic, and political centre. It is the 7th-largest city by population within city limits in the European Union. Until the beginning of the 20th century, it was the largest German-speaking city in the world, and before the splitting of the Austro-Hungarian Empire in World War I, the city had 2 million inhabitants. Today it is the second largest German-speaking city after Berlin and just before Hamburg. Vienna is host to many major international organizations, including the United Nations and OPEC. The city is located in the eastern part of Austria and is close to the borders of Czechia, Slovakia, and Hungary. These regions work together in a European Centrope border region. Along with nearby Bratislava, Vienna forms a metropolitan region with 3 million inhabitants. In 2001, the city centre was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. In July 2017 it was moved to the list of World Heritage in Danger.

Nazi Germany The German state from 1933 to 1945, under the dictatorship of Adolf Hitler

Nazi Germany is the common English name for Germany between 1933 and 1945, when Adolf Hitler and his Nazi Party (NSDAP) controlled the country through a dictatorship. Under Hitler's rule, Germany was transformed into a totalitarian state where nearly all aspects of life were controlled by the government. The official name of the state was Deutsches Reich until 1943 and Großdeutsches Reich from 1943 to 1945. Nazi Germany is also known as the Third Reich, meaning "Third Realm" or "Third Empire", the first two being the Holy Roman Empire (800–1806) and the German Empire (1871–1918). The Nazi regime ended after the Allies defeated Germany in May 1945, ending World War II in Europe.

United States Army Land warfare branch of the United States Armed Forces

The United States Army (USA) is the land warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces. It is one of the seven uniformed services of the United States, and is designated as the Army of the United States in the United States Constitution. As the oldest and most senior branch of the U.S. military in order of precedence, the modern U.S. Army has its roots in the Continental Army, which was formed to fight the American Revolutionary War (1775–1783)—before the United States of America was established as a country. After the Revolutionary War, the Congress of the Confederation created the United States Army on 3 June 1784 to replace the disbanded Continental Army. The United States Army considers itself descended from the Continental Army, and dates its institutional inception from the origin of that armed force in 1775.


In 1953, Dr. Kane joined the engineering faculty at the University of Pennsylvania as an assistant professor of mechanical engineering and three years later was promoted to associate professor. While at Penn, he served as a research engineer and on the committee whose focus was investigating the question of sabbatical leave. [1]

University of Pennsylvania Private Ivy League research university in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

The University of Pennsylvania is a private Ivy League research university in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. It is one of the nine colonial colleges founded prior to the Declaration of Independence and the first institution of higher learning in the United States to refer to itself as a university. Benjamin Franklin, Penn's founder and first president, advocated an educational program that trained leaders in commerce, government, and public service, similar to a modern liberal arts curriculum.

In the 1960s, Kane devised a method for formulating equations of motion for complex mechanical systems that requires less labor and leads to simpler equations than the classical approaches, while avoiding the vagueness of virtual quantities. The method is based on the use of partial angular velocities and partial velocities. [4] [5] [6] [7]

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  1. 1 2 3 "Deaths". 65 (28). 2019.
  2. Kubota, Taylor (March 8, 2019). "Stanford engineering professor Thomas R. Kane dead at 94". Stanford News. Stanford University. Retrieved May 31, 2019.
  3. Supplement to Who's who in America. 44. Marquis Who's Who. 1987. p. 470.
  4. Kane, Thomas R.; Levinson, David A. (1985), Dynamics, Theory and Applications, McGraw-Hill series in mechanical engineering, McGraw Hill, ISBN   0-07-037846-0, hdl: 1813/638
  5. Kane, T. R.; Levinson, D. A. (March–April 1980). "Formulation of Equations of Motion for Complex Spacecraft". Journal of Guidance and Control. 3: 99–112. doi:10.2514/3.55956.
  6. Josephs, Harold; Huston, Ronald (2002). Dynamics of Mechanical Systems. CRC Press. pp. 415–423. ISBN   978-0-8493-0593-1.
  7. Rosenthal, D.E.; Sherman, M. A. (July–September 1986). "High Performance Multibody Simulations Via Symbolic Equation Manipulation and Kane's Method". The Journal of the Astronautical Sciences. 34: 223–239.