- Published on Wednesday, 20 March 2013 01:00
- Written by Los Altos Town Crier
Dr. Paul Jerome Schneider passed away from a protracted struggle with cancer. He was 87, and is survived by his wife Mary Ann, after a marriage of 59 years. The couple lived in Los Altos, California for 56 years, all in the same home.
Paul’s father was a noted physician at the University of Minnesota (U of M) where was chief of medicine, as well as at two prominent Minneapolis hospitals. Paul’s parents were French (father) and German (mother).
Paul’s father, a GI specialist, travelled to Europe (Vienna and Berlin) to continue his studies of diagnostic and treatment of gastrointestinal disorders. Traveling with him was his wife, an aunt, and two daughters. He purchased a Fluoroscope in Germany to bring back home, and had the aunt trained as a Fluoroscopic technician there. Once back home he planned and opened a medical clinic in downtown Minneapolis, which he managed until retirement. This was about the same time that the Mayo brothers opened their clinic in Rochester, Minnesota.
Paul was the youngest of eight children: five girls and three boys. All five girls had large families, one having matched her mother’s eight children. One sister was a medical technologist who managed the blood bank at a major general hospital in Minneapolis. She was later engaged in studies of nuclear radiation sickness at the University of Chicago, as part of the Manhattan project during the Pacific War. Both brothers were medical doctors, one also holding a PHD in biochemistry. His only experience in medical practice was delivering a baby, and serving as a Navy front-line doctor attached to the Fleet Marines during the most dangerous periods of the Pacific island invasions. He also served as a doctor in the postwar occupation of Japan. The remainder of his career was in biochemical research at Mayor Clinic and mostly at Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia. His younger brother was professor of psychiatry at University of Oklahoma.
After serving with the US Navy in the latter part of the Pacific War, Paul entered the Institute of Technology at U of M where he received his BS degree in Aeronautical Engineering. From there he went to State University of Iowa in Iowa City to work with a noted thermodynamics professor in the Engineering College. While there he earned his MS and PHD degrees in 1954. He also taught there and completed a first textbook in his specialty of heat transfer. He then returned to U of M to teach and conduct contracted work in heat transfer. He also helped develop a transfer laboratory that is still in operation at the university.
In 1957 Paul left academia and he and Mary Ann moved to Northern California where he was interested in acquiring business and industrial experience. He first founded and managed a small engineering company, Thermotest Laboratories in Sunnyvale, California. Then in 1965 he was invited to join Lockhead Missile and Space Company, also located in Sunnyvale, where he was involved with development of the US Navy Fleet Ballistic Missile Program. In this work he lead a group of heat transfer engineers developing the thermal protection system that allowed nuclear reentry bodies, lofted into orbit by ballistic missiles launched from submerged submarines, to survive hypersonic reentry, with its enormous heat loads, on their way down to Earth targets. He spent 27 years with Lockheed on this project, all during the Cold War period with the Soviet Union, before retiring in 1992. During his professional career Paul delivered 68 national and international papers on heat transfer technology and applications. He also published two advanced, graduate-level textbooks on heat transfer theory. The first was used in graduate teaching for 30 years in the US, Asia, and Europe. This textbook, Conduction Heat Transfer, was also translated into Russian by a professor at University of Minsk. Despite Mary Ann hoping for a sable coat, Paul could not travel to Russia because his Lockheed work was classified and royalties had to be collected and spent there. So the trip never took place. Paul also contributed two chapters to a multi-author Handbook of Heat Transfer.
Paul had a fondness for technical writing that extended into retirement years. His last effort was a detailed paper on how to fix the global warming problem, by proposing a Manhattan-style project where multi discipline scientists would collocate and work as a team to develop a computer model, based on elaborate theory and experimentation, to predict how natural and man-made Earth pollutants behave in their transit up through the atmosphere to near space and modify the final mix of pollutants with incoming solar energy that then travels back to Earth and determines surface temperature, which in turn effects agriculture and man’s near surface environment. Paul did not attempt to have this eusted proposal published, realizing that it was way too ambitious and hopelessly expensive to attract government funding, especially in today’s weak fiscal climate in Washington.
Paul and Mary Ann traveled to Western Europe on self-planned car trips, six to eight weeks at a time, for a total of 26 trips starting in 1971 and ending in 2010. Before and during retirement, Paul pursued a consuming hobby of art and craft projects. He had three workshops that churned out multiple projects at a time, stemming from his active imagination and stimulation from European travel. These projects involved objects in a variety of materials, including wood, metal, leaded stain glass, concrete, plaster, and paint. His home in Los Altos has 52 objects from his hands indoor, and 10 large structures outdoors. He often worried about running out of new project ideas, but it never happened.
Paul was known to have once said that the main source of his ambitions and creative energies was his wife; her inspiration, her encouragement and her generous love for an appreciative and adoring husband.