Morrin-Martinelli-Gier Memorial Heat Transfer Laboratory
University of California, Los Angeles


Past and Present

The Morrin-Martinelli-Gier Heat Transfer Memorial Laboratory was created by Prof. David K. Edwards at UCLA in 1962 to honor the memory of Dr. Earl H. Morrin (1919-1948), Prof. Raymond C. Martinelli (1914-1949), and Prof. Joseph T. Gier (1910-1961). Under Prof. D.K. Edwards (1932-2009), the laboratory performed seminal work in several heat transfer areas including (1) surface radiation exchange for spacecraft thermal management, (2) gas radiation in rocket plumes and in various combustion systems, and (3) natural convection in enclosure for solar energy technologies (e.g., solar collectors). Prof. Edwards left UCLA in 1982 to join the Mechanical Engineering Department at UC Irvine where he retired in 1991.

Prof. Ivan Catton took over the laboratory in 1982 and directed it until he retired in 2014. During this time, Prof. Catton made pioneering contributions in the areas of natural convection, thermal hydraulics, and in the use of volume averaging theory (VAT) applied to transport phenomena in heterogeneous hierarchical porous media for optimization of heat exchangers and heat pipes for applications in energy systems (e.g., nuclear reactors) and for thermal management of electronics. During his forty year career at UCLA (1967-2010), Prof. Catton graduated nearly 40 Ph.D. students and published nearly 200 archival journal publications. He is a Fellow of both ASME and the American Nuclear Society and has received the ASME Heat Transfer Memorial Award and the Max Jakob Memorial Award.

Currently, the lab continues basic and applied research in radiation transfer, thermal sciences, and transport phenomena under the direction of Prof. Laurent Pilon in a wide range of energy applications including energy storage systems, materials for energy efficient buildings, and processes for photobiological production of molecules and materials.

The People Behind the Lab's Name

Prof. Joseph T. Gier (1910-1961). Joseph Thomas Gier was born in New Orleans on July 2, 1910. His family moved to California and attended high school in Oakland, CA. In 1930, he enrolled at UC Berkeley and graduate with a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering (ME) in 1933. He was the first African-American to graduate with a BSME from UC Berkeley. After experiencing difficulties finding work as an engineer, he returned to UC Berkeley and obtained a MS in Mechanical Engineering in 1941. Becoming interested in radiation transfer, he served as a technician before directing the California Highway Patrol Illumination Laboratory while teaching in electrical engineering. Prof. Gier was promoted to Associate Professor in Electrical Engineering at UC Berkeley in 1952 and become the first African-American with a tenured academic position at the University of California and the second at a top-ranked university in the United States. He moved to UCLA in 1958 as Professor of Engineering at the invitation of the first UCLA Dean of Engineering L.M.K. Boelter. His research programs were mainly in the field of thermal and luminous radiation and particularly instrumentation for measuring the radiation properties of surface (e.g., metals, paints) at various temperatures for aerospace applications. He is the co-inventor with ME Professor Robert Valentine Dunkle of the Gier-Dunkle directional radiometer, hemispherical radiometer, and heated cavity reflectometer.

Prof. Raymond C. Martinelli (1914-1949). Raymond Constantine Martinelli was born in Lucca, Tuscany, Italy, on April 27, 1914. He immigrated to the United States at age 9 with his mother and brother. He enrolled at UC Berkeley in 1932 and graduated with a B.S. in Electrical Engineering in 1936. He distinguished himself as an outstanding student earning the University Medal, the University highest undergraduate scholastic award. He also received a M.S. degree in Mechanical Engineering in 1939, and a Ph.D. in 1941 under the guidance of L.M.K. Boelter. Prof. Martinelli has made pioneering contributions in heat transfer including in the field of two-phase flow, heat transfer to molten metals, and in understanding the analogy between heat and mass transfer. His name remains associated with the well-known Lockhart-Martinelli (1949) correlation for pressure drop in horizontal isothermal turbulent two-phase fluid flow and with the Martinelli-Nelson (1948) correlation for the pressure drop in boiling turbulent force convection. These correlations have been used extensively for the design and safety assessment of petroleum refineries and nuclear power plants, for example. He received the Melville Medal from the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) in 1947 for his work on heat transfer to molten metals.

Prof. Earl H. Morrin (1914-1948). Earl Hamilton Morrin was born in San Francisco on February 19, 1919. He received a B.S. in Chemistry in 1940 from UC Berkeley and continued as a graduate student in Engineering from 1940 to 1946 under L.M.K. Boelter. In March 1946, Morrin moved with L.M.K. Boelter from UC Berkeley to Los Angeles to start a new School of Engineering at UCLA. During his time at UCLA, Morrin contributed to many publications and reports with colleagues L.M.K. Boelter, Raymond Martinelli, and others. Both Prof. Morrin and Martinelli died prematurely of leukemia caused by exposure to beryllium during their study of heat transfer to liquid metals.


In Memoriam. Joseph Thomas Gier, Engineering: Los Angeles and Berkeley. by L. M. K. Boelter, D. K. Edwards, L. L. Grandi, E. H. Taylor.

Reintroducing Joseph Thomas Gier by Magdalene L. Crowley, UC Berkeley Electrical Engineering Department, February 22, 2019.

In Memoriam. Raymond Constantine Martinelli, Mechanical Engineering: Berkeley by C. J. Vogt, L. M. K. Boelter, and F. A. Brooks.

The brief careers of Cherry, Martinelli, and Morrin by W. P. Berggren, Int. J. of Heat and Mass Transfer, Vol. 11, No. 1, 1968, pp. 7-8.

In Memoriam. Llewellyn Michael Kraus Boelter, Engineering: Berkeley and Los Angeles. by George J. Maslach Stafford L. Warren Joseph W. McCutchan.

Llewellyn M. K. Boelter, 1898-1966. by R.A. Seban, Int. J. of Heat and Mass Transfer, Vol. 11, No. 1, 1968, pp. 3-5.

In Memoriam. Donald K. Edwards (1932-2009) by A. Mills, D. Dunn-Rankin, S. Elghobashi, R. Rangel, B. Sirignano.