Published February 22, 2018
Frank Cozzarelli, a longtime faculty member in the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, died Jan. 25 in his North Buffalo home after a period of declining health. He was 84.
A native of Jersey City, N.J., and the son of Italian immigrants, Cozzarelli earned master’s degrees in engineering in 1955 and applied mechanics in 1958, both from Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken. He completed a doctorate in applied mechanics from Polytechnic Institute of Brooklyn, now part of New York University, in 1964.
He joined the faculty of the UB Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering as an assistant professor in 1962 after working as a stress analyst for Gibbs and Cox Inc. in New York City and an engineering instructor at Pratt Institute.
He was promoted to associate professor in 1966 and full professor in 1971.
He also served as director of graduate studies in the department in the 1970s and as acting chair in 1975-76.
Cozzarelli’s research interests included viscoelasticity, a property of polymers like the ones in Silly Putty and memory foam mattresses. He also studied inelastic wave propagation and damping with shape-memory materials.
A prolific scholar, he published nearly six dozen technical papers, contributed to three textbooks and co-authored, with I. H. Shames, the 1991 graduate-level textbook “Elastic and Inelastic Stress Analysis.”
He was awarded Fulbright and National Science Foundation grants for study and research in the Netherlands, where he was a visiting professor in 1968-69 at Technische Hogeschool in Delft, and in Italy in 1976-77, where he was a visiting scientist at Euratom in Ispra and a visiting professor at the Politechnico di Milano.
He was named Professor of the Year in 1965-66 by the UB honor society Tau Kappa Chi, now Tau Beta Pi.
He was a member of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, the Engineering Science Society, American Academy Mechanics, Sigma Xi and Tau Beta Pi.
In his spare time he was an avid antique collector. He refinished and restored old clocks, music boxes and pianos, including a player piano.
Although Cozzarelli retired from UB in 1996, his presence is still felt.
“The chairman of the department told my sister that he’s beloved and he’s a legend,” his daughter, Delia, an adjunct instructor in UB’s English Language Institute, told The Buffalo News. “I’ve had a student come up to me and ask, ‘Are you related to Dr. Cozzarelli? That book changed my life.’ His book is really revered.
“He was a perfectionist about teaching his classes,” Delia said. “His students still use his notes today. He explained things so clearly and so well.”