Herb Saravanamuttoo (1933‑2021)

It is with great sadness that GTEN shares the news of the passing of one of our founding members. Herb passed away after a short illness. His life has been beautifully chronicled in the Globe and Mail. Prior to his passing, Herb was nominated for the Order of Canada.

Nominated for Order of Canada

Prior to his passing, Dr Herb Saravanamuttoo had been nominated to the most prestigious Order of Canada. The Order of Canada recognizes the lifelong contributions of Canadians who have made a difference in their respective fields of endeavour, and have made the world a better place through their actions. Herb Saravanamuttoo was the founding member of IAGT (now GTEN), and was a huge catalyst in getting the organization off the ground and a huge supporter in the almost 50 years that GTEN has been in existence. Herb was also very active internationally with ASME and IGTI, as well as with the aircraft industry since the early 1950’s.

We are pleased to present a biography of Dr Saravanamuttoo’s career, followed by notes of congratulations from GTEN members.

Herb Saravanamuttoo

Herbert ('Herb') Ian Howard Saravanamuttoo is a Professor Emeritus, Carleton University, and has over 65 years industrial experience in gas turbines with both manufacturers and users. Born in Scotland in 1933, he attended the University of Glasgow (1951-55) with a B.Sc in Mechanical Engineering. His first job in the gas turbine field as a student was in 1953, testing turbo starters at a British factory in Warwickshire where the Whittle jet engine had been developed. In 1955 he came to Canada and joined Orenda Engines Ltd. in Toronto where he worked in simulation of engine dynamics. In 1964, he joined the University of Bristol in England, and also worked at Bristol Siddeley on the Olympus 593 for the Concorde jet, and with Rolls Royce on the RB 211 gas turbine. After his Ph.D from Bristol, Herb came back to Canada to join the faculty at Carleton University in Ottawa in 1970, where he contributed for the next 45 years, including 10 years as chair of the department of mechanical and aerospace engineering. His excellent teaching style has inspired many young people to getting involved with various industry sectors.

Herb is the main co-author of a widely recognized book, 'Gas Turbine Theory' now in its 7th edition. He has given many gas turbine courses to firms such as Siemens, Solar, Pratt & Whitney, Rolls Royce and Airbus. He has extensive experience on both aircraft and industrial gas turbines and was an associate of the Gastops company in Ottawa. Herb was the founding Chairman in 1974 of the Canadian 'Industrial Applications of Gas Turbines' (IAGT) Committee (now 'Gas Turbine for Energy Network' GTEN), which is focused on technical training for government and industry on a variety of cleaner industrial energy systems and applications.

Since 1959 Herb has been a member the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) International Gas Turbine Institute (IGTI), and an ASME Fellow since 1988. He has published many papers, served on the Education and Pipelines committees, and participated in IGTI conferences for five decades. He is also a Fellow of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers in UK, the Canadian Aeronautics and Space Institute (CASI) and the Canadian Academy of Engineering. In recognition of his outstanding contribution to gas turbine theory over the last fifty years, Herb received the ASME 'R Tom Sawyer Award' in 2004, and the International Society of Air Breathing Engines (ISABE) SNB Murthy International Collaboration Award in 2019. In 2011 Carleton University celebrated the opening of its new H.I.H Saravanamuttoo Gas Turbine Laboratory.



Your friends at GTEN wanted to take this opportunity to fete your nomination to the Order of Canada.

For many of us who had the opportunity to study under you, it is also an opportunity to reflect on the positive impact that you have had on our engineering careers and on our lives. I hope you take pride in knowing that the students you have taught have gone on to success in the profession.

I found myself thinking back to the IEP – the Industrial Experience Program that you founded back in the early 90’s. That had such a marked impact on my career as my experience at Rolls-Royce Canada helped me get into MDS and to build a career. I remember you point blank telling me to cut my hair if I wanted to get a job!! If only I had that problem now. All kidding aside, I remember your kindness, and I remember how you instilled in your students a genuine passion for the profession. Engineering is more than numbers and equations; it holds an important place in the overall narrative of our culture and our society. You always kept that as a focus – how engineering, and the fruits of her labour, shaped us. You imparted a sense of wonder, and found a way to harness the exuberance of our youth; and to overlook our foolishness and hubris.

Thank you for your service to GTEN. Thank you for your service to our community."

George Hajecek, P. Eng.
Director of Business & Technology Development
MDS | Gas Turbine Engine Solutions

"I would like to extend my personal congratulations to Herb on receiving the Order of Canada in recognition of his engineering prowess and his years of teaching. His Gas Turbine Theory book(s) and his personal insights have been a mainstay of the world-wide gas turbine industry during my whole power generation career, and has been a massive contribution to the industry’s Body of Knowledge."

Jim Noordermeer,
Power & Thermal Generation Consultant

"When I joined Westinghouse Canada Turbine & Generator Division in 1984, as a senior engineer, the first document provided to me by the Gas Turbine Engineering Manager was “GAS TURBINE THEORY” co-authored by H.I.H. Saravanamuttoo. This excellent reference is still helpful whenever I am tasked with reviewing Compressor or Turbine performance.

One of my Westinghouse Canada Gas Turbine colleagues had been taught by Herb.

After becoming the Westinghouse Canada IAGT representative in the mid 1990’s, it was always a pleasure to meet Herb at IAGT / GTEN symposium and planning events.

In addition to our interest in Gas Turbines, I discovered we shared a love of rambling (hiking holidays) and we both had wives who were social workers."

Lawrence Kaempffer P. Eng.

"As a student I met Herb over 40 years ago when I was taking his Gas Turbine power plant course at Carleton University. His teaching style was very ‘down-to-earth’ and focused on basics of system design with visual examples – so these inspired me and many other young people into getting involved with industrial energy activities. He is very well known and respected internationally, and we often shared experiences in some industrial courses that we taught together with other IAGT colleagues across Canada. Congratulations Herb on your many well deserved awards, and your Order of Canada nomination."

Manfred Klein (B.Eng 1980)

"Congratulations, and much deserved Herb! I use the term carefully, but you are a true legend in our industry. Your reputation was well established and there waiting for me as a fresh out of college employee at Orenda in 1970. I learned so much in those important early years from your work and then from you personally.

There are many well qualified gas turbine specialists in the world, but none of them gave so much back to those of us in the industry, the companies, the organizations, and to the countless students studying with you. Canada is truly proud to have you."

Lloyd Cooke

IAGT 2007

Herb at the Westinghouse Plant in Hamilton

Herb at Darlington Nuclear station

Carleton University Prof. Herb Saravanamuttoo

Mech. Eng 88.441 ‘Power Plant Analysis’

ISABE Air Breathing Engines (2019)

1st of Seven Editions


ASME Tom Sawyer Award (2004)

ISABE Air Breathing Engines (2019)

Nominated to Order of Canada (2021)