Most people looking to start a career in the US arrive with a few suitcases--- Dr. Monika Ivantysynova, however, brought along the contents of an entire German hydraulics laboratory. Complete test stands, including a full-size tractor, and even the mechanic of her former facilities at the TU Hamburg-Harburg, were all transported to the other side of the Atlantic in order to set up what would become the Maha Fluid Power Research Center. What began as an Everest climb of an effort to get a new laboratory going in the face of all the associated risks and obstacles has blossomed, over the span of a mere 14 years, into the home of a world-renowned research team, and the towering pinnacle of Dr. Ivantysynova’s career. Today, the Maha Fluid Power Center is the largest academic fluid power research facility in the US and supports the research and education of over 30 graduate students from all over the world.
Dr. Ivantysynova’s career began in 1983 when she earned her PhD in Mechanical Engineering at the Technical University Bratislava, in what is now Slovakia. She returned to academia after seven years in industry positions working on a variety of fluid power applications ranging from mobile machines to primary flight control systems. Her first professorship was at the University of Duisburg (Germany), where she taught from 1996 to 1999. Dr. Ivantysynova moved to the Technical University of Hamburg-Hamburg (Germany) in 1999 until her appointment as the Maha Professor of Fluid Power Systems at Purdue University in 2004.
As an educator at Purdue, she taught courses on the design and modeling of hydraulic systems, hydraulic hybrids and hydraulic power trains. As a researcher, she pushed for the design of more efficient positive displacement machines, the development of models that would allow for virtual prototyping of such machines, and for the conception of new system architectures that limit the use of valves, which she recognized as one of the biggest contributors to power loss in fluid power systems. As an advocate of the fluid power community, she was among the founders of FPNI (Fluid Power Net International)― an organization dedicated to pushing for fluid power innovation and education on a global scale―and she was editor-in-chief for the International Journal of Fluid Power which continues to capture, collect, and communicate key research in the field of fluid power.
In recognition of her work, Dr. Ivantysynova has been awarded two honorary doctorates, the first from the Technical University Bratislava in 2010, and the second from the Lappeenranta University of Technology in 2017. She was awarded two of the most prestigious recognitions within the fluid power community—IMechE’s Joseph Bramah Medal (2009) and ASME’s Robert E. Koski Medal (2015)—placing her among an elite few in the realm of fluid power innovation and education: fellow recipients of both awards include Wolfgang Backe, Clifford Burrows, Jan-Ove Palmberg, and Hubertus Murrenhoff. Furthermore, in 2016 she was given the Purdue’s Morrill Award—the highest honor that Purdue confers onto a member of its faculty—for outstanding performance in both teaching and research.
Dr. Ivantysynova passed away on August of 2018. Her legacy, and the research center she founded, live on and continue to spark the discoveries that will shape the fluid power systems of tomorrow.