Dr. Louis Zapas passed away in October, 2010 at the age of 88. Louis was born in the USA to Greek parents coming from the town Mesta in Chios. He was unfortunate enough to lose his parents early and, after spending some of his childhood in Alexandria, Egypt, he had more bad luck in spending the years of the 2nd WW in Mesta. He was arrested by the German occupation army and spend some time in a concentration camp.
After the war he moved back to the US and did his graduate studies in Chemical Engineering at the U. of Pittsburgh. He worked at the Mellon Institute, the Washington Research Center of the Grace Co. and at the National Bureau of Standards (now renamed as NIST). At the latter he developed the famous constitutive equation for the elastic fluids with Bernstein and Kearsley, known as BKZ-fluid (published at Trans.Soc.Rheol in 1963).
He retired from NIST in 1991. For his work Louis received the Bigham Medal of SOR. He was a very nice person to have as a friend, enjoyed life in the most profound sense and was at his best when engaged into a discussion, with preference in certain subjects, such as the joys of life (especially good food and wines) and in politics.
Greg McKenna wrote about him in his obituary in the Rheology Bulletin: “… Louis Zapas was a passionate man. He embodied pathos reminiscent of ancient Greek tragedy. Because of his life trials and tribulations, … he truly lived life as if every day would be his last…in fact, though, he outlived the expectations of his medical overseers by nearly forty years. Louis Zapas captured the essence of the world “meraklis”. His fun-loving nature was infectious to those around him. Friends and family knew that he loved good company, good food and good zeimbekiko. Both literally and metaphorically, there was no question as to whether he would dance, only as to when and how long…”