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John Lienhard Papers

Identifier: 2001-009

The John H. Lienhard series of speeches and materials cover a diverse range of topics. The earliest speech dates from 1961 and the most recent in the collection dates from 2006. The vast majority of speeches from the collection were given between 1990s and 2000s. In addition, other materials dated from 1964-2006 from this collection include preliminary drafts, page proofs, galley proofs, correspondence, CD covers, manuals, and royalty statements for Professor Lienhard’s 2 textbooks: Statistical Thermodynamics, and A Heat Transfer.


  • 1961-2006


Conditions Governing Access

Open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Special Collections owns the physical items in our collections, but copyright normally belongs to the creator of the materials or their heirs. The researcher has full responsibility for determining copyright status, obtaining permission to publish from copyright holders, and abiding by current copyright laws when publishing or displaying copies of Special Collections material in print or electronic form. For more information, consult the appropriate librarian. Reproduction decisions will be made by Special Collections staff on a case-by-case basis.


21.0 linear feet

Biographical Information

John H. Lienhard is the author and voice of the popular radio program, The Engines of Our Ingenuity. The show airs daily in the United States on Public Radio and internationally on Armed Forces Radio. For his work on Engines, he received the 1989 ASME Ralph Coates Medal for contributions to the public understanding of technology. He also received the 1991 Portrait Division Award from the American Women in Radio and Television, and the 1998 American Society of Mechanical Engineers Engineer-Historian Award. He was also named as one of the five finalists from among 1,300 entrants in the 1993 New York Festival International Radio Competition.

Lienhard is Professor Emeritus at the University of Houston. From 1989 to 2000, he served as M.D. Anderson Professor of Technology and Culture in the departments of Mechanical Engineering and History at the University of Houston, and from 1980 to 1989 he was Professor of Mechanical Engineering at the school. His research areas include heat transfer with phase change, hydrodynamic boiling theory, condensation, flashing, thermodynamics of phase change, dynamics of jets and sheets, and the history of technology. He is also an Honorary Member of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) and a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).

He was born in St. Paul Minnesota on August 17, 1930, and received his B.S. in Mechanical Engineering in 1951 from Oregon State College, an M.S. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Washington in Seattle in 1953, and a PhD. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of California at Berkeley in 1961.

Lienhard has written hundreds of professional journal articles, along with several technical books. He maintains full scripts of Engines programs on the web at The site presently serves some 30,000 visitors each week. Each year KUHF also produces an hour-long Engines-related compact disk of twenty or so Engines programs. Professor Lienhard is also a prolific speaker and has given approximately 1100 major addresses.

All information from this biographical sketch was taken from the Engines of Our Ingenuity web site or from information provided by Professor Lienhard.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

2 slide rules, December 3, 2014

1 box archival materials, February 9, 2015

7 boxes CDs and cassettes, 4 binders of transcripts, May 22, 2015

1 box archival materials, June 22, 2015

Guide to the John Lienhard Papers
Mikaela Selley, Samantha Herber, and Bobby Marlin
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the University of Houston Libraries Special Collections Repository

University of Houston Libraries Special Collections
MD Anderson Library
4333 University Drive
Houston TX 77204-2000 USA