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Baudouin de Veubeke

Belgian scientist and professor in the fields of civil engineering, structural analysis, electrical engineering and aeronautics.

Biographical Information

Name: Baudouin de Veubeke
Full name: Baudouin M. Fraeijs de Veubeke
Born on 3 August 1917 in , Thanet, Kent, South East England, England, United Kingdom, Europe
Deceased on 16 September 1976 in , Liège, Wallonia, Belgium, Europe

Short biography of Baudouin de Veubeke

Following his studies at the universities of Leuven and Liège, Fraeijs de Veubeke joined the Belgian section of the Royal Air Force in 1944. Two years later he joined the aircraft design office of the Belgian aircraft company Avions Fairey; in 1948 he became a lecturer at the University of Leuven and in 1952 was finally appointed professor at the University of Liège. It was there that Fraeijs de Veubeke was in charge of the Laboratoire de Techniques Aeronautiques et Spatiales and held the chair of continuum mechanics. Like his colleague Charles Massonnet, his pioneering research work into the formation of structural mechanics theories during the innovation phase of structural theory (1950–75) gave the University of Liège an international reputation. For example, Guy Sanders (1937–87) was one of his students. Fraeijs de Veubeke’s scientific works earned him not only membership of the Belgian Academy of Sciences, but also further honours in Belgium and abroad. A focal point of his scientific work was providing a foundation for FEM through general variational theorems (see section Unfortunately, although this work had a great significance on structural mechanics, it did not receive the acclaim it was due. One reason for this is certainly Fraeijs de Veubeke’s matter-of-fact style of presentation, which means that the reader has to prise out the jewels of the knowledge very carefully – Fraeijs de Veubeke never liked to present his findings as if they were propaganda. Felippa acknowledges Fraeijs de Veubeke as follows: “An aristocrat by birth and gentleman by nature, de Veubeke never displayed greed for priority and recognition” [Felippa, 2002, p. 10]. This becomes obvious in the example of Fraeijs de Veubeke’s formulation of the general variational theorem: he never claimed to have discovered this variational theorem before Washizu and Hu. Fraeijs de Veubeke displayed human greatness based on honesty. Unfortunately, this honourable scientist passed away all too soon, and so a summary of his outstanding research studies never found ist way into manuals.

Main contributions to structural analysis:

  • Diffusion des inconnues hyperstatiques dans les voilures à longeron couplés [1951];
  • Matrix Method of Structural Analysis [1964];
  • Displacement and equilibrium models in the finite element method [1965, 2001];
  • Strain energy bounds in finite element analysis [1967];
  • A new variational principle for finite elastic displacements [1972];
  • Variational principles and the patch test [1974];
  • The dynamics of flexible bodies [1976];
  • B. M. Fraeijs de Veubeke Memorial Volume of Selected Papers [1980]

Source: Kurrer, Karl-Eugen The History of the Theory of Structures, Wilhelm Ernst & Sohn Verlag für Architektur und technische Wissenschaften GmbH, Berlin (Deutschland), ISBN 3-433-01838-3, 2008; p. 731


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