Ludwig Kern, one of Hochreiter's nuclear engineering advisees, spoke highly of Dr. Hochreiter in an interview he gave shortly after the incident to Lauren Boyer, a writer for the Centre Daily News.
Photo credit: Joe Shlabotnik
"I know a lot of advisers, especially in grad school, have their students work as slaves for them. That wasn't the case with him," Kern said. "He loved to teach. He really made sure we knew our stuff before we left Penn State." A 1971 doctoral graduate in nuclear engineering at Purdue University, Hochreiter began his career as a senior and advisory engineer at Westing-house Energy Systems Business Unit, where he worked until 1996.
According to the department Web site, after teaching at Carnegie Mellon University, Hochreiter started at Penn State as an adjunct professor of nuclear engineering in 1986.
His research interests included thermalhydraulic modeling of nuclear power plants, reactor safety analysis and experimental studies of two-phase flow and heat transfer. His ongoing research included the Rod Bundle Heat Transfer Program, and the Development of Two-Phase Separator for Reflood tests.
In 2005, Hochreiter received the Outstanding Teaching Award from Penn State University.
He was a consulting engineer since his field of research filled such a practical niche. Hochreiter's highly regarded reputation led Governor Jim Douglas of Vermont to appoint Hochreiter to the Public Oversight Panel in June of 2008. The three-person panel was established for the Comprehensive Vertical Inspection of Vermont Yankee nuclear power station, and they were due to submit their assessment at the end of January 2009.
Hochreiter authored and coauthored over 200 publications in journals, transactions, and proceedings. Additionally, he authored and coauthored over 80 Westinghouse Reports.
He was affiliated with the American Nuclear Society; a Fellow with the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME), 1974-Present; and a member of ASME's K-13 committee.
In whatever leftover moments of spare time he had, Hochreiter enjoyed bulding model trains, playing folk guitar and restoring and refinishing antique furniture.
He is survived by his wife of 42 years, Susan; his mother, Margaret Hochreiter MacVicar of Buffalo; daughter, Sarah L. Hochreiter of Somerville, N.J.; son, Paul L. Hochreiter of State College; a brother and a sister.