Charles S. Beightler

March 18, 1924 – March 27, 2011

Brief Biography

Charles Sprague Beightler was a Frederick W. Lanchester Prize recipient. Beightler attended high school in Chicago, Illinois after which he entered the Specialized Training Program of the United States Army. During the Second World War, he served in the 71st Infantry, 44th Division as a radio operator and forward observer on the Western Front. For his consistence acts of valor, he earned a Bronze Star Medal in 1944. Upon returning to the States, Beightler went on to the University of Michigan to study engineering prior to joining Aerona Manufacturing and returning to the Army during the Korean War. He completed his M.S. in Mathematics in 1954, accepting a research engineering position for General Motors. After working as an OR analyst for two different firms, Beightler returned to academia, receiving his PhD in systems engineering from Northwestern University.

Beightler joined the faculty in the University of Texas at Austin’s Department of Mechanical Engineering, remaining with the institution until his 2011 death. He and Douglass J. Wilde collaborated in the creation of the university’s operations research program, meeting at the historic Scholz Garten in downtown Austin. As an academic, Beightler authored numerous books and articles on optimization, queueing analysis, and geometric programming. His Foundations of Optimization, co-authored with Wilde, received the 1967 Frederick W. Lanchester Prize for best publication in operations research. The text was lauded for the significant unification of existing operations research theories and methods and its expository clarity and excellence. It was the first such book to present, in a single volume, the wide range of optimization techniques accompanied by an extensive bibliography.

Beightler’s theory-related work saw real-world application. He developed optimal flood routing policies that minimized damage caused by flood inundation and designed an efficient utilization of exhaustible energy resources. Beightler frequently taught summer courses at Stanford University and spent the 1971-1972 academic year as a Fulbright Lecturer at Germany’s University of Freiburg. His hobbies included music and aviation, as he taught private flight lessons and enjoyed aerial aerobatics in his Stearman biplane.


University of Michigan, BS 1950

University of Michigan, MS 1954

Northwestern University, PhD 1961 (Mathematics Genealogy


Academic Affiliations
Non-Academic Affiliations

Key Interests in OR/MS



Austin American-Statesman (2011) Obituary: Charles Sprague Beightler PhD. March 30. (link)

University of Texas at Austin Documents of the General Faculty. Report of the Memorial Resolution Committee for Charles S. Beightler. Published July 27, 2011. 

Awards and Honors

U. S. Army Bronze Star Medal 1944

Frederick W. Lanchester Prize 1967

Selected Publications

Beightler C. S. & Mitten L. G. (1964) Design of an optimal sequence of interrelated sampling plans. Journal of the American Statistical Association, 59(305): 96-104.

Beightler C. S. & Wilde D. J. (1967) Foundations of Optimization. Prentice-Hall: New York.

Beightler C. S. & Crisp Jr R. M. (1968) A discrete-time queuing analysis of conveyor-serviced production stations. Operations Research, 16(5): 986-1001

Beightler C. S. & Philips D. T. (1970) Optimization in tool engineering using geometric programming. AIIE Transactions, 2(4): 355-360.

Beightler C. S. & Philips D. T. (1976) Applied Geometric Programming. John Wiley & Sons: New York.