Hendrick Van Ness

Hendrick Van Ness nsIn thermodynamics, Hendrick C. Van Ness (1924-2008) was an American chemical engineer noted for his 1969 booklet Understanding Thermodynamics and his 2005, seventh edition, Introduction to Chemical Engineering Thermodynamics, the latter of which is said to be, in his own words, “the most widely used chemical engineering text of all time”, surpassing its 50th year in print in 1999, thus making him one of the founders of modern chemical engineering thermodynamics. [1] Van Ness' expertise was in solution thermodynamics, the thermodynamics of solutions containing reactive species. [2]

Of note, the simplified 1969, 102-page, booklet Understanding Thermodynamics, by Van Ness, based on his 1968 lectures to sophomore engineering students at the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, during the spring term, is the highest ranking Amazon.com book on thermodynamics. [3] In 2001, Van Ness’ Introduction to Chemical Engineering Thermodynamics, having been translated into four languages, had reached average yearly sales of 20,000 copies, with a total sales over all six editions exceeding a half-million, making it, according to Van Ness, “the best-selling textbook in the history of chemical engineering”. [4] [5]

Two of his favorite co-authors (Ѻ) were Michael Abbott (1938-), also of RPI, in and Joe Smith (1916-2009), of UC Davis. [6] [7]

Van Ness completed his BS in chemical engineering at the University of Rochester in 1944 and an MS there in 1946. He completed his PhD in engineering at Yale University in 1953. [8]

See also
Most-cited thermodynamics publications

1. (a) Hendrick C. Van Ness – Chemical Engineering RPI Faculty Profiles.
(b) Staff Author. (2008). “Hendrick C. Van Ness” (Obituary), TimesUnion.com, Nov. 08.
2. Hendrick C. Van Ness (Books and Parts of Books) – RPI.edu
3. (a) Van Ness, Hendrick C. (1969). Understanding Thermodynamics. Dover.
(b) Amazon sales rank: #29,554 on 11/27/08 (with 5-stars based on 9 reviews).
4. Van Ness, Hendrick C. (2001). “Evolution of a Textbook: Introduction to Chemical Engineering Thermodynamics”, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.
5. Statement of President Shirley Ann Jackson on the Passing of Hendrick C. Van Ness Nov. 2008
6. Michael M. Abbott (1938 - 2006)
7. Obituary: Joe M. Smith, 93, Emeritus Professor of Chemical Engineering
8. Hendrick C. Van Ness (Biography) – RPI.edu.

Further reading
● Abbott, Michael and Van Ness, Hendrick. (1989). Schaum’s Outlines of Thermodynamics with Chemical Applications. McGraw-Hill.

External links
AIChE profile
NY State Museum profile
RPI special profile

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