University of Texas, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History

A Guide to the Victor G. Szebehely Papers, 1924-1997

Descriptive Summary

Creator: Szebehely, Victor G., 1921-1997
Title: Szebehely, Victor G., Papers
Dates: 1924-1997
Abstract: The bulk of the Victor G. Szebehely Papers, 1924-1997 relate to Szebehely’s professional career, and consist of correspondence, biographical data, financial records, research and teaching materials from various universities such as lecture notes, articles, papers and course books, as well as clippings and travel records.
Accession No.: AR 98-207; 2001-207
OCLC No.: 944450239
Extent: 15 ft., 6 in.
Language: Materials are written in English.
Repository: Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin

Biographical/Historical Note

Victor Szebehely (1921-1997) was a scientific researcher, professor and the author of 18 books and 200 articles. His interests include ship dynamics, and aerospace engineering, which he taught at the University of Texas at Austin between 1968 and 1997.

Szebehely was born in Budapest, Hungary on August 21, 1921, and he received his PhD in engineering at the University of Budapest in 1946. A year later, in 1947, he immigrated to the United States, and became a naturalized citizen in 1954. Szebehely conducted research and taught at several institutions, including the University of Budapest, Virginia State University, the University of Maryland, and Yale University before accepting a position at the University of Texas at Austin in 1968. He also worked for the Navy in Washington, D.C., in the 1950s.

Szebehely studied earth-to-moon trajectories and is known for his theories on the “three-body problems,” which involved predicting the movements of three large objects in space, whether they are planets, space vehicles or both. According to his findings, it would be impossible for any combination of these three bodies to sustain lasting stability, forcing the smallest object to move away from the others.

As a professor and researcher, he was internationally recognized and celebrated for his work in engineering, and was knighted by Queen Juliana of the Netherlands in 1956. He was also the recipient of several awards, including the Vanderlinden Award of the Belgian Royal Academy (1987), the General Electric Senior Research Award (1994), and the international award Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei in Rome, Italy (1997). He was a member of the National Academy of Engineering and was elected Fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics.

Szebehely was married twice and had a daughter named Julia Agnes Szebehely with his second wife Jo Betsy. Szebehely, who held the Richard B. Current Centennial Chair in Engineering at UT, had retired only weeks before his death on September 13, 1997 in Austin, Texas.


Stanley, Dick. “Dr. Victor Szebehely,” Austin American Statesman, September 16, 1997.

Dubick, Stephanie. “UT Professor Victor Szebehely dead at 76,” Daily Texan, September 16, 1997.

Burkhart, Ford. “Victor Szebehely, 76, Pioneer In Field of Orbital Mechanics,” The New York Times, September 28, 1997.

Scope and Contents


Access Restrictions

This collection is open for research use.

Use Restrictions

Portions of this collection are stored at the Library Storage Facility; 48 hour notice is required, consult the archivist.

Index Terms

Subjects (Persons)
Szebehely, Victor., 1921-
Subjects (Organizations)
Texas. University at Austin
College of Engineering at the University of Texas at Austin
Three-body problem
Celestial mechanics
Aerospace engineering
Budapest (Hungary)
Austin (Tex.)

Related Material

See also the UT College of Engineering Records, 1903-2006.

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Victor G. Szebehely, 1924-1997, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin.

Processing Information

This collection was processed by Amanda Reyes, July 2015.

Detailed Description of the Papers




Onsite at SRH:

2.325/P107 Course book, "The History of Space Flight," by Hans Mark, ASE363L, Fall 1989.
2.325/N43b Oversized



98-207/1 Biographical personalia:
Biographical data, 1943-1997
General, 1938-1990
Correspondence, 1976-1995
Correspondence, printed material, clippings, 1990-1995
Yale University, 1966-1968
Hungarian correspondence, 1947-1951
Student: immigration correspondence, 1947-1951
Personal documents, 1927-1954
Passports, 1931-1980
APSI (Szebehely Gyözö)
Honorary doctorate, 1991
ASEE General Electric Senior Research Award, 1944
European Academy of Sciences, 1992
Lecture notes and speeches, 1936-1975
Consulting, 1963-1966
Research materials and notes: history of math and science, 1946-1993
Lingua Latina (Latin expressions), 1974-1975
Virginia Polytechnic Institute: speeches and correspondence, 1948-1951
Notes and clippings, 1958-1961
Registration as a professional engineer, 1973-1974
Richard B. Curran Chair at the University of Texas, 1992-1996
Recommendations, written, 1995-1996
Publicity, awards, and career highlights
98-207/2 University of Texas teaching materials:
Orbital mechanics handouts and miscellaneous constants, 1970-1995
Lecture notes, 1976-1989
Handouts, 1995
#1, 1970-1994
#2, 1970-1994
#3, 1970-1971
Regularization, 1976, 1979, 1982, 1985, 1997
Stability lectures, 1995-1997
Lecture, April 1997
Theory of Orbits II, 1980-1996
98-207/3 Theory of Orbits lecture notes, 1990-1995
Graduate students, 1990-1995
Mars Atmospheric Balloon Extended Liaison
History of the Russian Space Flight from Competition to Cooperation
Libration point-computer project
The Three Body (Restricted) Problem, 1992
The Three Body Problem, 1992
The Restricted Three Body Problem, Lagrang Solutions, 1993
Orbital analysis of Lagrang Points Four and Five, Earth-Moon system, 1993
Sun-Jupiter system, 1993
Numerical computation of trajectories of a Three Body Problem, 1993
Final report for Theory of Orbit, 1993
Analysis of the General Problem of Three Bodies for bodies of equal mass, 1993
Analysis of motion of the Three Body Problem, 1993
Theory of Orbits, 1993
A study of the Isosceles Problem of the Three Bodies, 1993
Numerical Integration of Selected Prognose Orbits, 1994
How truncation of the geopolitical affects the stability of high-eccentricity orbits, 1995
Reduction of the Restricted Three Body Problem to third order systems, 1995
Long-Term Stability of Orbits with Large Semi-Major Axes, 1996
Double Averaged Third Body Perturbations, 1996
A System of Celestial Mechanics, 1997
The Inverse Problem of Celestial Mechanics, 1997
Quasi-Satellite Orbits in the Restrictive and Elliptic Restricted Problem, 1997
Application of the Pseudostate Theory of the Three-Body Lambert Problem, 1993
Investigation of the Chaotic Parameters of the MDO Program, 1997
Chaotic Motion of Equatorial Elliptic Orbits, 1997
Ejection-Collision Orbits with the More Massive Primary in the Planar Elliptic Restricted Three-Body Problem, 1997
Moon's Effect of the Moon of Highly Eccentric Satellite for Short Terms, 1997
The Effects of the Moon on the Highly Eccentric Earth Orbits, 1997
University of Texas letterhead
Class Questionnaires, 1993
Committee on chairs, 1993-1995
International study committee, 1993-1994
Strategic plan, 1993
Strategic plan draft
Qualifying Exam:
98-207/4 Travel:
Entertainment and travel expense receipts, 1992-1997
Faculty Center
Greece, 1964
Leiger, Hamburg, Paris, Copenhagen, London, 1966
Helsinki, Moscow, Leningrad, Athens, Zurich, Obsterwolfach, 1966
Budapest (Fulbright), 1989-1990
Sailing, 1969-1971
Hawaii, 1969
NATO grant, 1996
Cotina, 1993
Prog's workshop-NATO, 1992
Nice, 1991
Hawaii, 1993
London, 1993
Austria, 1996
American Astronomical Society, 1988
Purple Sage, 1995
Hungarian trip, 1990
Paper for Italy, 1997
Colorado, 1996
Albuquerque, 1995
SSNIP, 1995
Meetings in Ramsan, 1992
SSNIP-Boston, 1996
Budapest, 1995
Halifax, 1995
AIAA/AAS meeting, 1991
Budapest, May 1991
Presentations, 1996
Visitors, 1996
98-207/5 Articles, papers and lectures:
Lectures in Budapest, 1936-1941
"Rate of Solution and Evolution of Aircraft Engine Oils," 1948
"New Method of Determining Gear Rations," 1944
"Voltage Distribution chain Insulators of Power Lines," 1944
"Basic Definitions, Formulas, and Important Numerical Values in Fluid Mechanics," 1949
"Flow Problems of Variable Viscosity," 1950
"Gas Evolution in Liquids and Cavitation," 1950
"An Analogy Between Open Soap Bubble and Compressible Flow," 1950
"Comments on Truesdell's Paper on Bernoulli's Theorem for Viscous Compressible Fluids," 1950
"Generalization and Improvement of the Hydraulic Analogy," 1951
"Relation between Gas Evolution and Physical Properties of Liquids," 1951
"Investigation of the Motion of a Sphere in a Semi-Infinite Fluid," 1951
"The Improved Hydraulic Analogy," 1951
"Experimental and Theoretical Aspects of Skewed Rigid Frame Bridges," 1951
"Influence of the Second Coefficient of Viscosity," 1951
"New Analogy for Compressible Flow Phenomena," 1951
"A Mathematical Analysis of the Formal Analogy between Hydromechanics and Elasticity," 1951
"Progress Report-Certain Mathematical Aspects of skewed Rigid Frame Bridge Analysis," 1951
"The Exact Analogy Between Free Surface Water Flow and Two Dimensional Gas Flow," 1951
"Local Compressible Pressure Coefficient," 1951
"The Analogy Between Elastic Solids and Viscous Liquids," 1951
"Measures of Unsteadiness," 1952
"The Hydraulic Analogy as a Teaching Aid," 1952
"Preliminary Experimental Investigation of Slamming," 1952
"Hydrodynamic Approach to the Slamming of Ships," 1952
"On the Problem of Three Bodies in a Plane," 1952
"Hydrodynamics of Slamming of Ships," 1952
"Generalization of the Dimensions Frequency Parameter in Unsteady Flows," 1952
"Unsteady and Amplitude Effects on the Moment Derivatives of a Prolate Spheroid," 1953
"A Measure of Unsteadiness of Time Dependent Flows," 1953
"Compressible Viscous Liquids," 1953
"On Slamming, European Shipbuilding," 1954
"Bibliography of Slamming," 1954
"Oscillatory Motion of a Spheroid," 1954
"Progress in Theoretical and Experimental Studies of Ship Slamming," 1954
"Hydrodynamic Application of Some New Integral Transformations," 1954
"Hydro and Aerodynamics," 1955
"Hydrodynamic Impact Measurements," 1955
"Ship Slamming in Head Seas," 1955
"Model Experiments on Slamming of a Liberty Ship in Head Seas," 1955
"Apparent Pitching Axis," 1956