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Aviation Pioneer Launched Aero Studies At Michigan


Felix Wladyslaw Pawlowski
The Michigan Alumnus 7

Because a young engineer 
back in 1912 convinced au
thorities of the Engineering College 
that aeronautics should be taught 
as part of the curriculum, the Uni
versity of Michigan became one of 
the few in America to pioneer in 
the field. That engineer, FELIX W. PAWLOWSKI, M.S.'14, today holds 
the position of Guggenheim Profes
sor of Aeronautics in Michigan's 
College of Engineering and high es
teem among men of science, not
 only as a teacher, but as one who 
has made vital contributions in the 
realm of aeronautical research.

Pro
fessor Pawlowski was born near
 Warsaw on July 23, 1876, the son 
of a Polish patriot whose medical
 career was ended by 18 years of
 exile in Siberia following a student 
revolt against the Russians, and 
who was the manager of a large 
estate. Tutoring at home by his 
mother laid the foundation for the
 son's education, and at the "Real-
Gymnasium" in Warsaw it was con
tinued.

His first college work was
 taken at the Technical College of 
Mittweide, Saxony, where he re
ceived the degree in Mechanical 
and Electrical Engineering in 1896. 
 Postgraduate study at the School 
of Engineering, Braunschweig, fol
lowed, and when the first chair of
 aeronautics was established at the
 University of Paris, he enrolled, 
 receiving the certificate d' etude in 
aeronautics in 1910. In the latter
 year, the young engineer came to
 
the United States, becoming an
 American citizen in 1916. He re
ceived a Master of Science degree
 from Michigan in 1914, but preced
ing and supplementing his graduate studies were several years of 
practical experience in Poland as 
designer and engineer with various 
firms, followed by further work in 
the automotive industry in the
 United States. It was from this 
work that he came to Ann Arbor in
 1912 as Instructor of Mechanical 
Engineering after his letter propos
ing to several engineering colleges 
establishment of courses in aero
nautical engineering had brought a 
favorable reply from the University. He has since held the posts of Assistant Professor, from 1915 to
 1918, Associate Professor of Aero
nautics, 1918-1922, Professor and 
Head of the Department of Aero
nautical Engineering, 1922-1929,
 and his present position since that 
time. Regular instruction in Aeronautical Engineering for credit was 
instituted in February 1915, with 
eight students, and the first class of 
two graduated in June 1917. Pro
fessor Pawlowski spent the follow
ing year, 1917-1918, as an aero
nautical engineer with the United
 States Army, and again secured
 leave in 1919-1920 to reorganize 
aerodynamic research for the Polish
 Army.

On the findings of his re
search while at Michigan, Professor
 Pawlowski has written numerous 
articles for engineering publica
tions, as well as a textbook on the 
theory and design of propellers. He 
regards music as his hobby.