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The newspaper of The Johns Hopkins University August 22, 2005 | Vol. 34 No. 42
Engineer Charles ReVelle, 67, Creater of Location Analysis

Charles ReVelle

Charles ReVelle, a Johns Hopkins professor who was world renowned for his work on reservoir design and who was credited with creating the field of location analysis, died Aug. 10 at his home in Baltimore. He was 67. The cause of death was lymphoma.

ReVelle was a chemical engineer who evolved into an applied mathematician specializing in environmental systems analysis. He earned his doctorate in sanitary engineering from Cornell University and served on the Cornell faculty from 1967 to 1970. He joined the Department of Geography and Environmental Engineering at Johns Hopkins in 1971. He quickly gained a reputation for his work in a broad range of environmental subjects.

Location analysis, the science ReVelle pioneered, involves applying mathematical modeling to determine the optimal placement of facilities such as fire stations, hospitals and power plants. ReVelle�s skills also were used in areas as diverse as nuclear disarmament, reservoir operation and the design of nature reserves.

Promoted to a full professor in 1975, he was a prolific researcher, publishing more than 150 journal papers as well as authoring three books on mathematical modeling. With his wife, Penelope, he wrote and published five environmental science textbooks for undergraduates in the 1990s.

Nick Jones, dean of the Whiting School of Engineering, said, �Chuck was absolutely devoted to the research and careers of his students, dozens of whom now hold faculty positions around the world. He was a gifted teacher, with an accessible and thorough style that extended beyond the classroom. A stream of visitors could always be found coming and going from his office.�

Among the friends and colleagues mourning the loss of ReVelle was Jared L. Cohon, president of Carnegie Mellon University. Before assuming his present post, Cohon spent 19 years as a faculty member and administrator at Johns Hopkins. He collaborated with ReVelle on research projects and course instruction.

�Chuck ReVelle was a great teacher, scholar and innovator,� Cohon said. �Chuck also had the discipline of mind and commitment to wrestle over long periods with the most challenging problems in environmental systems analysis and location theory, two fields in which he produced several seminal works and in which he is known as a pioneer and even founder.

�He was, in addition, an incredibly gentle, thoughtful and generous person who earned the devotion of his colleagues and students. I was one of those people who had the good fortune of working closely with Chuck for many years. He meant a great deal to me as a colleague, mentor and friend. Like his many very successful students, I was educated by Chuck directly and by just being around him for almost two decades. We have lost a great person.�

ReVelle�s many awards included a Lifetime Achievement Award in Locational Analysis in 1996 from the Section on Location Analysis of the Institute for Operations Research and Management Science and the Agamemnon Award from the Constantine Porphyrogenitus Association of Greece in 1995 for his contributions to Environmental Management and Public Decisions Making. In 2001 he was named the Mary Shephard B. Upson Visiting Professor in Civil and Environmental Engineering and Visiting Professor of City Planning and Regional Science at Cornell University�s School of Civil and Environmental Engineering. Cornell subsequently appointed him adjunct professor of civil and environmental engineering, a position he held in addition to his Johns Hopkins appointment.

His outside interests included building furniture, traveling and hiking. He also was known for his jokes and for puns that friends and colleagues affectionately described as �excruciating.�

He is survived by his wife, Penelope; daughters Cynthia ReVelle of Boston and Elizabeth ReVelle of New Castle, Australia; and a granddaughter.

The family has requested that donations made in his honor be directed to the Charles S. ReVelle Scholarship Fund at Johns Hopkins, care of the Whiting School Development and Alumni Relations Office, 144 New Engineering Building.

A memorial service for ReVelle will be held Sunday, Sept. 11, in 110 Hodson Hall on the Homewood campus. A reception will be held from 3:30 to 5 p.m., followed by a service from 5 to 6 p.m.


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