We regret to report that Dr. Frederick J. Edeskuty, 89, longtime CSA member, Cold Facts columnist and expert on cryogenic safety, passed away on Friday, May 10. The following tributes were sent to CSA by friends and colleagues of Edeskuty.
From John Barclay, Emerald Energy NW, LLC:
Fred was a wonderful person, colleague and friend with whom I had the privilege to work for several years at Los Alamos National Lab. We were in the Energy division in a group that combined low-temperature physics, applied superconductivity and cryogenic engineering professionals. Fred was an active senior member of this group when I arrived to work with Bill Steyert on magnetic refrigeration.Fred had a very positive attitude toward life in general and toward interesting cryogenic projects in particular, and demonstrated his wit and sense of humor regularly. As many people know, Fred loved to travel and would plan a week or so either before or after technical conferences all over the world. His wife Janette usually went with him. It was always a lunchtime treat after one of Fred’s trips to enjoy seeing his slides, along with Fred’s great insights about the local people, food and miscellaneous adventures that seemed to occur.
I found Fred to be an excellent resource of cryogenic engineering data on all sorts of materials at cryogenic temperatures (this was well before the days of publicly available databases). His door down the hall from my office was always open to spontaneous visits to ask questions of all kinds.
He was a great mentor as well, as illustrated by this example. One of the fun and challenging cryogenic engineering projects we did in our group at Los Alamos was the development of DC superconducting power transmission lines (SPTL). This amazing design used low temperature superconductors in a 100 km cable that used supercritical helium at between ~5.5 and 8K as the refrigerant. The cooling of the cable required several large refrigerators to cool and circulate the cold helium.I was part of a team working on an efficient and cost-effective refrigeration system for the SPTL. However, after we did what we thought was a great job improving efficiency and reducing costs, I remember sitting in on a review of the whole program to abruptly learn that the refrigerator system was only some very small (a couple percent) of the total project costs, i.e., it didn’t matter what we did so long as it worked. I was frustrated by that conclusion and sought a project where improvements in thermodynamic efficiency and capital cost really made a difference.
Fred introduced me to Dan Brewer from Lockheed “skunk works.” They were developing an LH2-fueled aircraft for numerous strategic defense applications but expected the design to have commercial applications as well, where cost of fuel was a very important aspect. Dan asked us to develop a very efficient hydrogen liquefier. Thanks to Fred, I’ve been working on that objective since that time. What I’ve enjoyed learning along the way is now being applied to LNG as well as LH2. Thank you, Fred!
From Dr. Glen McIntosh, McIntosh Cryogenics:
For some 40 years we knew Fred Edeskuty as a very intelligent engineer and, more importantly, as a kind and thoughtful person. For a number of years he was half of a formidable team with the late Ken Williamson. They had two things in common: They were both PhD Chemical Engineers and they were both left-handed.
Fred was a prolific writer of important technical papers. Among other things, Fred and Ken Williamson co-edited a two-volume treatise, “Liquid Cryogens,” which was published by CRC Press in 1983. Ken prevailed on me to write the chapter on Transport of Cryogenic Fluids in the first volume. In later years, Fred became established as a cryogenic safety guru and he and Walter Stewart wrote another book, “Safety in the Handling of Cryogenic Fluids.”
Fred has left his mark in cryogenic technology and he will be missed as a friend and associate.
From Robert Hendricks, NASA Glenn Research Center:
I too have known Fred for years and surely his contributions are lasting imprints to our industry. A wonderful person and family man…his presence will be missed, yet his everlasting life is assured. Sending an abundance of blessings, prayers, thoughts, healing grace.
From Laurie Huget, CSA Executive Director
Fred was a recognized expert on cryogenic safety, highly regarded in our field. A long-time member of the Cryogenic Society, he wrote the “Cryogenic Safety” column in Cold Facts. He was a very positive person. I always looked forward to his jokes! He will be missed by his colleagues and friends in the cryogenics community.