Obituary for Professor Emeritus Kyriacos D. Papailiou (1939-2021)

It is with great sadness that we report the death of Kyriacos D. Papailiou, Professor Emeritus at the National Technical University of Athens (NTUA) and founder of the Lab. οf Thermal Turbomachines of NTUA. Kyriacos, who passed away on the 12th of August 2021, was one of the pioneer scientists in the turbomachinery field and an accomplished professor, much admired and valued by generations of students.

After graduating from the School of Mechanical Engineering of NTUA, Kyriacos continued his education at the von Karman Institute for Fluid Dynamics (VKI Diploma in Experimental Aerodynamics, with Great Distinction). He completed his Doctorate in Applied Sciences at the University of Liege (with Great Distinction), and his Doctorate in Sciences Physiques at the University Claude Bernard, Lyon (with “mention très honorable”). In the next years, Kyriacos held various researcher or professor positions at VKI, the Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey, and the École Centrale de Lyon, and engineering positions at SNECMA-Centre d’Essais Villaroche, Ste. Metraflu, etc. Also, he has served as a consultant to numerous well-known companies/industries. In 1978, Kyriacos joined the faculty at the School of Mechanical Engineering of NTUA and, till his retirement (2006), was Professor and Director of the Laboratory of Thermal Turbomachines of NTUA.

Throughout his career, Kyriacos received extensive recognition for his contributions to the aerospace and turbomachinery field. He was one of the early initiators of the International Society for Air-Breathing Engines (ISOABE), vice-President (2001-2005) of the European Community on Computational Methods in Applied Sciences (ECCOMAS) and member of several ECCOMAS Bodies since 1993. He collaborated with many European Industries in the field of aeronautics, turbomachinery, energy, etc. He was the General Chairman of the ECCOMAS CFD Congress (Athens, 1998) and of the 7th European Conference on Turbomachinery, Fluid Dynamics and Thermodynamics (Athens, 2007).

In Greece, he was member of the Board of Directors of the Hellenic Aerospace Industry, Managing Director and Member of the Executive Council at the National Hellenic Research Foundation, and Secretary General for Research and Technology, Ministry of Industry, Energy and Technology. Kyriacos was passionate about research in Europe and, in particular, in Greece. It was not by chance that he was the mastermind of the installation of the first parallel computers for Scientific Computing at NTUA.

I came to know him since 1981, as an NTUA undergraduate student and, then, as one of his PhD students. I continued working with him for about three decades and thus, we became very good friends. I will remember always the visits he used to pay me to my office at NTUA after his retirement. He always had a great interest in our research achievements, particularly those related to industrial projects, and I was trying to profit the most from his valuable advice coming from his great experience.

Kyriacos was one of the greatest persons you were likely to meet ever, a considerate and generous colleague, and a mentor. He had many PhD students, whose lives and careers were deeply affected by what they learned from him. His students and colleagues knew that we could rely always on his advice and support.


We will all miss him deeply.

K.C. Giannakoglou, Professor NTUA