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Former ISU Engineering Dean, INL Chief Scientist Richard Jacobsen Passes Away Aug. 20

August 26, 2019

Dr. Richard T. “Jake” Jacobsen, former Idaho State University engineering dean and associate director of research, and chief scientist at what is now the Idaho National Laboratory, died Tuesday, Aug. 20, at Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center.

Jacobsen most recently served as the Idaho State University associate director for the Center for Advanced Energy Studies (CAES) from 2015 until his retirement in late June 2019. It was his second stint as ISU associate director for CAES, having also served from 2009 until 2012.

Upon his retirement, Jacobsen also was ISU’s associate vice president for research and a professor of nuclear engineering.

Prior to his time at CAES, Jacobsen served as dean of engineering at Idaho State University in Pocatello and as executive director of research development for ISU’s Meridian campus.

From 1999 to 2005, Jacobsen served as chief scientist at Idaho National Engineering and Environmental Laboratory under the management of Bechtel BWXT, while concurrently serving as an associate lab director from 2001 until 2005, and as a deputy lab director from 1999 until 2001.

Jacobsen spent a significant portion of his career, 27 years, at his alma mater, the University of Idaho, as dean of the College of Engineering in Moscow, director of the Center for Applied Thermodynamic Studies in Idaho Falls, chair of the Department of Mechanical Engineering in Moscow, and professor of Mechanical Engineering in Moscow. 

He also worked as a consultant for Idaho National Laboratory and National Bureau of Standard, as a guest worker for the National Institute of Standards and Technology, and as an engineer for Boeing.

Jacobsen was an elected fellow in the American Society of Mechanical Engineers and a member of its Committee on Finance and Investment. He was also a member of the American Nuclear Society, American Society for Engineering Education, Association of University Technology Managers, American Institute of Chemical Engineers, American Association for the Advancement of Science, and Idaho Society of Professional Engineers, among other professional organizations, and he served on a number of committees and boards, including the Idaho Global Entrepreneurial Mission (IGEM), Board of Trustees at the Museum of Idaho, Board of Directors for the Idaho Research Foundation, and as a member of the Idaho Higher Education Research Council.

His research publications included 12 books and chapters in books, 60 referred journal publications, 11 refereed conference proceedings, and 108 research reports, notes, and technical reports. He also received $12 million in grants and contracts throughout this career.

Jacobsen earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in mechanical engineering from the University of Idaho and a Ph.D. in engineering science from Washington State University.



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