Danilo Rašković, a doctor of technical sciences, mechanical engineer and mathematician with a university degree, started the first scicntifically based courscs of mechanics at thc Faculty of Mechanical Engineering in Belgrade. He also introduced courses on the subject of strength of materials, elasticity theory, and oscillation theory all of which he taught, too. He authored many textbooks of high scientific standard and large circulation. He introduced vector, matrix and tensor calculus in thc studies of mechanics at the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering in Belgrade and, later on, did the same at the Mechanical Engineering Faculties in Niš, Kragujevac and Mostar. He enabled the Faculty in Belgrade, and similar schools elsewhere, to produce highly qualified and educated engineers which was one his greatest contributions. He wrote the first university textbook in Serbia on oscillation theory prescnting his original research results. He achieved considerable scientific success in the fields of elasticity theory and oscillation theory. With a good human resource base at Niš Faculty, which he had set up, Rašković started research work into the field of nonlinear mechanics. His scientific work is important bccause in ali of his projects he succeeded in connecting theories of elasticity and oscillation, and engineering practice. Rašković produced 25 university textbooks which covered the entire field of mechanics and the related areas. Almost ali of them have had several reprints, some even 20. His excellent textbooks were in use on the entire territory of the former Yugoslavia which, during World War II, was in tatters under the powerful influence of fascism. Thanks to Prof. Danilo Rašković, the faculties of mechanical engineering of Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and all the other republics of the once unified Yugoslavia which are now separate states, produced generations of excellent mechanical engineers. Rašković was a patriotic and honourable man. He was the recipient of the City of Niš October Award for his contributions to the development of science at Niš Universitv.
This distinguished scientific figure of exquisite creative energy and inspired enthusiasm, a scholar deeply attached to the Yugoslav and Serbian scientific and cultural heritage, and an outstanding pedagogue of high moral principles is in the living memory of many generations of students whom he taught how to learn and love mechanics, as a basic scientific branch of mechanical engineering either dircctly, through his lectures, or through his various and numerous textbooks.. His followers and colleagues very much appreciated his great enthusiasm permeated with sincere devotion for mechanics and scientific eagerness which he passed on them.
Prof. Danilo P. Rašković was born in 1910, in Uzice. After finishing elementary school and six grades of high school, he graduated from the Military Academy in 1930. As an engineering military officer he enrolled at the Mechanical and Electrical Engineering Department of the Faculty of Engineering in Belgrade, in 1933. Having graduated in 1938, he enrolled at the Theoretical Mathematics Department of the Faculty of Philosophy and graduated from it in 1941. As a graduate mechanical engineer he was appointed assistant Head of Section of the Military Technical Institute in Čačak, and he stayed therc during 1941. In 1942 he was appointed assistant at the Faculty of Engineering in Belgrade where he obtained his Ph.D. defending his thesis entitled Tangential Strains of Normally Profiled Beams that same year.
In 1962 Prof. Rašković, as the Head of the Mechanics Department at the Institute of Mathematics of the Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts, organized research work in four different study groups, each one dealing with a particular subject, namely: Stability of motion - supervised by Dr Veljko Vujičić, Boundary layer theory - supervised by Dr Viktor Saljnikov,Problems of anisotropic incompatible materials with finite strain - supervised by Dr Rastko Stojanović and Optimal problems of mechanics - supervised by Prof. Dr Danilo Rašković.
During his university career, he was elected Vice-Dean of the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering of Belgrade University on two occa-sions. He was the first Head of the Mechanics and Automatics Department of the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering in Niš. He was an outstanding lecturer, scientist and practitioner much liked by his students and respected by his colleagues both as a professor and an engineer, for his ability to relate engineering theory to practice.
As a full professor he produced 37 pieces of scientific work that were published in scientific bulletins of the Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts, Polish Academy of Science, German Society of Mechanics and some others. He attended a number of scientific meet-ings in the country and abroad. He edited articles that appeared in the world's four leading scientific periodicals: Applied Mechanics Review (USA), Mathematical Review(USA), Zentralblatt fur Mathematik (Germany) and Referativnii žurnal(Moscow). Rašković was a member of several professional and scientific associations in the country and abroad, the GAMM being one of them. He initiated the foundation of the Yugoslav Society of Mechanics in 1952. Out of his publications for postgraduate studies the Analytical Mechanics, Theory of Elasticity and Tensor Calculus deserve to be mentioned.
In 1974/75 he was arrested in Mostar, Bosnia-Herzegovina, and unjustly sentenced. Following the experience, he worked on new editions of his high-circulation, textbooks, out of which the lOth edition of Mechanics Ifor university studies deserves a special mention as does the 15th edition of his handbook containing the strength of materials tables. Last months of his life he spent preparing his textbook Elasticity Theory for publishing. It came out in 1985 but he did not live to see it.
He died, unexpectedly, on January 29, 1985 in Belgrade.
Although it has been twenty years since he left us, Prof. Rašković is still present among new generations of students, and engineers, through his renowned textbooks that keep the memory of his achievements alive. The books have left an indelible mark on the development of mechanical engineering. Many generations of university professors studied from them as students of Niš University are doing nowadays.
Rašković is an everlasting proof of how one's deeds can outlive one's physical existence.
His bibliography is found here.
Authors: Stevanović-Hedrih, Katica; Studović Milovan