Richard John Rosa

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  • "Mickey, I remember so many wonderful times with you and..."
    - Mary Brydich
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Richard John Rosa, age 79, a pioneer in the field of magnetohydrodynamics (MHD), passed away peacefully at his home in Polson on Dec. 22, 2006.

He is survived by his wife, Marion (Mickey); three children: Katrina Rosa of Pasadena, Calif., Scott Rosa of Sharon, Mass., and Cynthia Rosa of Centennial, Colo.; two step-daughters, Dione Greenberg of Yellow Springs, Ohio, and Maureen Rude of Helena; five grandchildren and one great-grandson.

Dr. Rosa was the first to successfully generate electricity using MHD technology. After earning his Ph.D. in engineering physics at Cornell, he was a research scientist at the Avco Everett Research Lab in Massachusetts. Then in 1975 he became a professor of mechanical engineering at MSU, Bozeman.

He authored over 60 articles, held 14 patents, published a textbook on MHD that was translated into several languages and published a whimsical article in Science Fiction Analog magazine in September 1972 that described the design of an MHD powered flying saucer.

He edited the Journal of Energy Conversion, served on a number of advisory panels for the federal government and the National Academy of Science and was a visiting professor at Tokyo Institute of Technology, Japan, and at the University of Sydney, Australia. He was awarded the Wiley Award and Faraday Medal for research and was the first to receive the Rosa-Kantrowitz award.

Dick was an avid outdoorsman. He especially enjoyed skiing and sailing. To celebrate his 65th birthday, he climbed the Grande Teton in Wyoming, and shortly before his death, he and Mickey made their 16th ascent to Angel's Landing in Zion National Park, Utah.

A man of many interests, he enjoyed ballroom and square dancing, photography, and singing with the local men's chorus, jazz festivals and symphony concerts, in addition to continuing a lifelong love of learning that spanned an extensive array of subjects from physics, astronomy and mathematics to history, philosophy and sociology.

He was a man with little ego, accepting and non-judgmental, who loved life and was grateful he'd had a good one. His quiet, intelligent sense of humor and big heart is missed by family and friends.

A celebration of his life will be held from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. June 30 at the Polson Senior Citizens Center.
Published in Bozeman Daily Chronicle on June 24, 2007
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