Geothermal Engineer and Progenitor of Sustainable Art
Center for Advanced Visual Studies Fellow, 1993-1997
Founding Director, the Center for Innovation and Applied Technology and the Laboratory for Energy Reclamation and Innovation
Professor of Mechanical Engineering at The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art
Prof. Robert Dell is the Founding Director the Laboratory for Energy Reclamation and Innovation at the Cooper Union, where he is also Adjunct Professor of Mechanical Engineering. His most recent appointment at Cooper Union is Director, Special Project on Select Patent Monetization. Prof. Dell recently was Cooper Union’s Director of the Center for Innovation and Applied Technology, and the Research Fellow for the C.V. Starr Research Foundation. Other recent appointments include Guest Lecturer with the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) in Mexico City, and Advisory Board Member with Borealis GeoPower Inc. in Canada and Visiting Scientist with Iceland’s Keilir Institute of Technology.
Over the last 15 years at Cooper, Prof. Dell has taught a wide variety of courses including: Senior Capstone Design, Selected Topics in Mechanical Engineering, Special Research/Summer Study, Drawing and Sketching for Engineers, Selected Advanced Topics in Mechanical Engineering and Interdisciplinary Research Problem. He has co-advised 13 completed Masters Theses, and has one current graduate students.
He has given open lectures at MIT, Harvard, Columbia University, the New York Hall of Science, the University of Iceland, the University of Reykjavik and the National Autonomous University of Mexico in Mexico City.
His sustainable visual art installations are the subject of numerous reviews and articles, including The New York Times, Sculpture, Leonardo, and Iceland Review. Prof. Dell’s over 100 Installations and exhibitions include Harvard University, MIT, Tufts, Lehigh University, New Jersey City University, Yellowstone National Park, museums, and commercial galleries in the United States. There were additional installations at Iceland’s Great Geysir, the Reykjavik Municipal Art Museum, Seltun Hot Springs, and a permanent installation at Reykjavik’s Perlan experience center. Prof Dell’s theatrical scenic and set design work from 1985- 2001 includes the Metropolitan Opera, Broadway productions, motion pictures and television, where his work was honored by the Emmy Academy. The Smithsonian Institution has established a permanent archive, “The Robert Dell Papers”for sculptor and engineer Robert Dell, for his contributions as a “major American artist” and “a progenitor of sustainable art.” MIT School of Architecture + Planning’s The MIT Program in Art, Culture and Technology (ACT) Archive established the Robert Dell papers as part their permanent archive.
Prof. Dell received Bachelors and Masters degrees from the State University of New York. He is a Member of ASME, the Order of the Engineer, the American Welding Society, and the Geothermal Resources Council. Prof. Dell was a McDowell Colony Fellow, an American Scandinavian Foundation Fellow, and a Fulbright Senior Research Fellow., His other academic appointments include Visiting Research Fellow with the University of Iceland, Honorary Research Associate with the New York Botanical Garden. Prof. Dell was Research Fellow and Project Director with the School of Architecture and Planning at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).
His best known work is the first geothermal-powered sculpture that was created and then powered by hot springs during a Fulbright Senior Research Fellowship to Iceland in 1988. The title of the work, Hitavaettur, means “guardian of geothermal hot water” in Icelandic. The sculpture was inspired by the artist’s desire to create a “mythological personification of the Earth’s energy using today’s technology.” It is now powered by the same geothermal hot water that heats the city of Reykjavik.