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Remembering Dr Richard MacNeal

Co-founder of MSC Software and MSC Nastran passes away at the age of 94

It is with great sadness that we at NAFEMS learned of the recent passing of one of the pioneers of engineering software, Dr Richard (Dick) MacNeal.

Dr Richard H. MacNeal founded MSC Software Corporation along with Robert Schwendler in 1963 under the name of MacNeal-Schwendler Corporation (MSC). Under his leadership, MSC developed its first structural analysis software called SADSAM (Structural Analysis by Digital Simulation of Analog Methods) and was deeply involved in the early efforts of the aerospace industry to improve early finite element analysis technology. In response to a 1965 request for proposal from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) for a general purpose structural analysis program, Dr. MacNeal contributed greatly to the early efforts of the aerospace industry by successfully simulating on-the-ground physical testing through computing to deliver the right answers and right physics to take humans to the moon. In 1971, MSC Software released a commercial version of Nastran, named MSC Nastran.

Dr MacNeal (right) and Robert Schwendler (left) in the early 1960's working on the space program

Dr MacNeal pioneered the development of engineering software. His numerous technical innovations in mathematics dramatically improved the quality of engineering analysis. His entrepreneurial drive to commercialize analysis technology has enabled thousands of companies in virtually every manufacturing segment throughout the world to significantly improve their products and shorten the development cycles. 

Dr MacNeal leaves behind 54 years of technical contributions to the global CAE community and a loving family and will be sadly missed.

image/content courtesy of MSC Software