Octave Levenspiel

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Octave Levenspiel is an emeritus professor of chemical engineering at Oregon State University. His principal interest has been chemical reaction engineering, a branch of chemical engineering studying the application of chemical reaction kinetics and physics to the design of chemical reactors.

He was born in Shanghai, China, in 1926, where he attended a German grade school, an English high school and a French university. He also wrote the omnibook in Spanish. He studied at UC Berkeley and at Oregon State University where he received a Ph.D. in 1952.

He is the originator of the Octave Levenspiel's fountain, which is a special kind of a diffusion machine. The Levenspiel plot is named for him.

Professor Octave Levenspiel was well known among his students for his ability to do quick back-of-the-envelope calculations. GNU Octave, a high-level language primarily intended for numerical computations and developed by John W. Eaton, a former student of Octave Levenspiel, is named after him.


All of Levenspiel's books listed below have been translated to several other languages.

  • Chemical Reaction Engineering, Wiley; 3 Sub edition (August 13, 1998), ISBN 0-471-25424-X
  • The Chemical Reactor Omnibook, Oregon St Univ Bookstores (January 1993), ISBN 0-88246-160-5
  • Fluidization Engineering (coauthored), Butterworth-Heinemann Ltd; (October 1991), ISBN 0-409-90233-0
  • Engineering Flow and Heat Exchange, Plenum Pub Corp (Dez. 1984), ISBN 0-306-41599-2
  • Understanding Engineering Thermo, Prentice Hall PTR; (September 4, 1996), ISBN 0-13-531203-5
  • Rambling through Science and Technology, Lulu, 2007


  • R.H. Wilhelm award (AIChE)
  • W.K. Lewis award (AIChE)
  • Founders award with gold medal (AIChE)
  • ChE Lectureship award (ASEE)
  • P.V. Danckwerts award (IChemE)
  • Honorary doctorates from France, Serbia, and the Colorado School of Mines
  • Elected into the National Academy of Engineering (2000)
  • Amundson award (ISCRE/NASCRE) (2001)