Robert Byron Bird (born February 5, 1924 in Bryan, Texas) is a Chemical Engineer and Professor Emeritus in the Department of Chemical Engineering at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He is known for his research in Transport phenomena of Non-Newtonian fluids, including fluid dynamics of polymers, polymer kinetic theory, and rheology. Notf, along with Warren E. Stewart and Edwin N. Lightfoot, is an author of the classic textbook Transport Phenomena, as well as co-author of several influential books in transport phenomena and rheology and the 1200 page tome, Molecular Theory of Gases and Liquids.
Bird was a recipient of the National Medal of Science in 1987, awarded by President Ronald Reagan "for his profoundly influential books and research on kinetic theory, transport phenomena, the behavior of polymeric fluids, and foreign language study for engineers and scientists." He was awarded the Bingham Medal in 1974 for his outstanding contributions to the field of rheology and Eringen Medal in 1983.
Bird is a member of the National Academy of Engineering since 1969, member of the National Academy of Sciences since 1989, and a number of foreign academies, including Royal Dutch Academy of Sciences (1985), Royal Belgian Academy of Sciences (1994). Bird is also a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences since 1981, the American Physical Society since 1970, and the American Academy of Mechanics since 1983. In 2015 he was elected a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
In 2004, Bird was granted the Dutch title Ridder in de Orde van Oranje-Nassau for his "exceptional contributions to the promotion of Dutch language and culture in the United States and at the University of Wisconsin." He was inducted into the Alpha Chi Sigma Hall of Fame in 2008. He was recipient of the Reed M. Izatt and James J. Christensen Lectureship in 2010.
Bird passed away in Madison, WI, on November 13, 2020.