A Memorial Salute to Enzo Macagno

Enzo O. Macagno, 98, of Iowa City, passed away on Sunday, Sept. 9, 2012, in Iowa City. He was professor emeritus at IIHR—Hydroscience & Engineering.

Dr. Macagno came to IIHR from Argentina as a fluid mechanician in 1956, during Hunter Rouse’s tenure as IIHR director. In 1967, Macagno became interested in modeling the flow of red blood cells in the bloodstream, a research project that opened the field of biomechanics at IIHR. This work pioneered IIHR’s efforts in computational fluid dynamics (CFD) a decade before the term was coined.

Macagno became interested in studies of the history of fluid mechanics and the life of Leonardo da Vinci in the 1960s. Along with his colleague and late wife, Matilde Macagno, Macagno became an international expert on da Vinci and published numerous articles and many IIHR monographs on the interpretation, analysis, and synthesis of da Vinci’s codices and manuscripts as they relate to fluid-flow and transport phenomena. Macagno could read and understand Leonardian script, and used IIHR’s facilities to replicate da Vinci’s experiments. Macagno worked with and interpreted the Madrid Codices, Codices Atlanticus, Forster, Arundel, and Hammer, and the Institut de France manuscripts. He also compiled da Vinci’s Libro del Acqua. Matilde Macagno’s publications include studies of flow kinematics and the representation of water in art, science, and technology. Enzo Macagno’s last da Vinci monograph was published in 2006, when he was 92. His tenure remains among the lengthiest at IIHR.

He is survived by a son, daughter, three grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren.