Professor Emeritus Daniel N. Beshers (1928-2024)

Jan 29 2024

The Columbia Engineering community mourns the loss and celebrate the life of Professor Emeritus Daniel N. Beshers

Professor Emeritus Daniel N. Beshers, age 95, died peacefully in his sleep on January 4, 2024.

He was born August 13, 1928 in Chicago IL to Hugh Monahan Beshers and Caroline (Newson) Beshers.  His early childhood was spent mostly on Aruba, where Hugh, a civil engineer, helped to build and run an oil refinery.  Daniel had two younger brothers, James and Eric, both deceased.  When he was 12 the family settled in Washington, DC, where he attended junior high and Woodrow Wilson high school.

Daniel attended Swarthmore College (BA in Mathematics, 1949) and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where he earned an MS (1951) and Ph.D. (1955) in Physics.  He spent one year at the Office of Naval Research Laboratory in Washington DC, and then moved to Columbia University in New York as an Assistant Professor of Applied Physics and Applied Mathematics in the Henry Krumb School of Mines, specializing in Metallurgy.  He spent the rest of his career at Columbia, being promoted to Associate Professor with tenure in 1965 and Full Professor in 1970.

He advised a number of graduate students and was known for his demanding yet rewarding classes. He retired as a member of the Department of Applied Physics and Applied Mathematics in the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences.

In 2008 he was awarded the Zener Medal by the International Conference on Internal Friction and Mechanical Spectroscopy (ICIFMS) for “remarkable scientific achievements in the field of anelasticity, mechanical spectroscopy and the study of condensed matter with acoustic methods”.  His final co-authored paper was published when he was 89 years old.

A memorial service will be held on April 13, 2024, at 2 p.m., at the UU Church of Urbana-Champaign. An obituary featuring details from his personal and family life can be found here.


A photo of an elderly white man who is wearing glasses and looking away from the camers

Professor Emeritus Daniel N. Beshers (1928-2024)

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