September 26, 2019

Dear Members of Our Campus Community,

It is with sadness that I write to share with you that Professor Emeritus Marshall Tulin passed away in his sleep on August 31, 2019, at his home in Santa Barbara. His daughter, Leah, was by his side. He was 93. 

A professor in our Department of Mechanical Engineering and founder and director of our Ocean Engineering Laboratory, he was a national leader in hydrodynamics. His revolutionary work in the 1950s is credited with successful developments in the theory of supercavitation for naval engineering. 

Professor Tulin also made pioneering contributions to eliminating pollution from water; providing more usable water; saving submarines in distress; detecting submarines underwater from the air; and much more. He also taught and trained ocean engineering students and scientists all over the world. 

Marshall entered Massachusetts Institute of Technology at the age of 17. He received his Bachelor of Science in 1946 and Master of Science in 1949, and then continued his studies at Brown University with a Rockefeller Fellowship in Applied Mathematics. His long and distinguished career included positions at the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics; David Taylor Model Basin in Washington, D.C.; and the Office of Naval Research. While at ONR, he developed a basic research program in naval hydrodynamics, and played a major role in creating a renowned series of symposia on naval hydrodynamics in 1956. In 1959, Marshall co-founded Hydronautics Inc., a highly successful hydrodynamics research company, where he served as technical director and chief scientist until 1982. In July of that year, he joined our campus. 

At UC Santa Barbara, Professor Tulin held a prestigious University of California President Chair from 1982-1987, and stayed on faculty until his retirement in 1994. He was an elected member of the National Academy of Engineering, and a recipient of the U.S. Navy’s Distinguished Public Service Award. He also received an honorary doctorate in engineering from Tel Aviv University in 2000 for his achievements and contributions worldwide.

An independent thinker and brilliant mind, Professor Tulin touched countless lives throughout his career and made transformative contributions to his field. As a fellow mechanical engineer, I was fortunate enough to interact with him professionally. In honor of his memory, our campus flag will be lowered on Tuesday, October 1.  

A memorial gathering for Marshall is planned for Sunday, November 3, from 1-8 p.m. at the Tulin home, 4356 Via Glorieta. Burial and graveside service is planned for Monday, November 4, at 1:30 p.m. at Santa Barbara Cemetery. RSVPs are requested to Leah Tulin at


Henry T. Yang