Robert C. Dean Jr.

Robert C. Dean Jr.

Adjunct Professor of Engineering, Emeritus

Bob Dean horiz

**Robert Dean, President of Synergy Innovations, died on January 7, 2023, surrounded by family. He was 94 years old.**


Dr. Dean is the founder or co-founder of ten companies: Creare Inc. (contract R&D in the thermal/flow and medical sciences); Hypertherm Inc. (technology leader and world's largest manufacturer of plasma-arc metal-cutting equipment); Creare Innovations Inc. (xerography and motion control) became Spectra/Dimatix and sold to Fuji (four color, drop-on-demand printers); Verax (mammalian-cell culture systems for biopharmaceuticals production); Synosys, then PerSeptive Biosystems, sold to Perkin-Elmer (biotechnology instruments and process equipment); Synergy Research Corporation (motion-control, reprographics engineering and bioengineering); Synergy Innovations, Inc. (innovation and new venture creation); SIMBEX (injury-prevention and rehabilitation products), NanoComp Technologies, Inc. (carbon nanotubes and products), and Synticos (abrasive slurry jet cutter of anything).

He holds ScD (1954), SM (1949) and BS (1948) degrees in mechanical engineering from MIT. Dr. Dean was an Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering at MIT in the Gas Turbine Laboratory from 1951–1956. He was Head of Advanced Engineering at Ingersoll-Rand Company from 1956–1960. In 1961, he became Associate Professor and later Professor of Engineering at Thayer School of Engineering at Dartmouth and is now Professor of Engineering, emeritus, adjunct.

He is a member of the National Academy of Engineering (1977) and a Fellow of both the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) and the National Academy of Inventors. In 1996, the US Small Business Administration awarded Dr. Dean one of the first "Tibbett's Pioneer Awards" in recognition of his contributions to the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Program. In 1996, The American Society of Mechanical Engineers awarded Dr. Dean the ASME Gold Medal for his technical accomplishments, inspiration of fellow engineers and many contributions to the engineering profession. In 1998, The New Hampshire High Technology Council awarded Dr. Dean the Entrepreneur of the Year Award.

He is President of Synergy Innovations Inc., Lebanon, New Hampshire, where he is innovating processes and products for working materials, for advanced materials fabrication and for geriatrics on means to prevent fall injuries and means to rise from the floor. He holds 28 U.S. patents, with approximately five patents pending, and many foreign patents.


  • SB, Mechanical Engineering, MIT 1949
  • SM, Mechanical Engineering, MIT 1949
  • ScD, Mechanical Engineering, MIT 1954


  • Fellow, National Academy of Inventors, elected 2015
  • Pi Tau Sigma Gold Medal, 1953
  • National Academy of Engineering, elected 1977
  • Fellow, ASME, elected 1978
  • ASME Gold Medal, American Society of Mechanical Engineers, 1996
  • National Science Foundation, Engineering Advisory Committee, 1996-2000
  • Lifetime Achievement Award, New Hampshire High Technology Council, 1998

Professional Activities

  • Journal of Fluids Engineering, Founding Editor (Trans. ASME), 1973-78.
  • Phillips Academy, Andover, MA, Trustee, 1978-81.
  • ASME Fluids Engineering Division, Chairman, 1962-63.
  • National Science Foundation, Advisory Council for Chemical, Biochemical and Thermal Engineering Division, 1985-86.
  • National Academy of Engineering Advisory Committee on Commercialization of Technology, Steering Committee, 1987-1991.
  • National Academy of Engineering, Charles Stark Draper Prize Committee, 1993.
  • National Institutes of Health, Center for Scientific Review Group, Geriatrics & Rehabilitation Medicine Study Section, 1999-2003.
  • Vermont Academy of Science and Engineering, Member, 2002-present.

Selected Publications

  • Dean, R.C., Jr.; On the Necessity of Unsteady Flow in Fluid Machines; Trans. ASME, March 1959.
  • Dean, R.C., Jr. and Senoo, Y.; Rotating Wakes in Vaneless Diffusers; Trans. ASME, J. Basic Engn., September 1960.
  • Dean, R.C., Jr.; Separation, Chapter 11 Handbook of Fluid Dynamics, McGraw-Hill, 1961.
  • Johnston, J.P. and Dean, R.C., Jr.; Losses in Vaneless Diffusers of Centrifugal Compressors and Pumps—Analysis Experiment and Design; Trans. ASME, J of. Engn. for Power, Vol. 88, No. 1, pp. 49-62, Jan. 1966.
  • Runstadler, P.W., Jr. and Dean, R.C., Jr.; Straight Channel Diffuser Performance at High Inlet Mach Numbers; Trans. ASME, J. Basic Engn., 397-422, Sept. 1969.
  • Dean, R.C., Jr.; The Fluid Dynamic Design of Advanced Centrifugal Compressors, Course Notes, Von Karman Institute, Brussels, 1972,1974
  • Karkare, S.B., Dean, R.C., Jr. and Venkatasubramanian, K.; Continuous Fermentation with Fluidized Slurries of Immobilized Microorganisms; Bio/Technology, Vol. 3, Mar. 1985.
  • Dean, R.C., Jr., Afeyan, N.B.; Continuous Adsorptive Extraction of Proteins; Bioprocess Engn. Coll., ASME, 101-104, Dec.1987.
  • Dean, R.C., Jr.; Patent Law’s Impact on Invention and Innovation; Texas Review of Law & Politics; 4(1):95-102; 1999.
  • Deneen, E.K., Banerjee, S., Heermans, A.G. and Dean, R.C., Jr.; Bedside Exercise for Mobility-Limited Nursing Home Residents: A Case Study; J. of Geriatric Physical Therapy; 25(202):12-19, 2002.