Constantino Economos, a scientist at the Brookhaven National Laboratory and former U.S. Marine, died on November 9, 2020, at the Hampton Center for Rehabilitation and Nursing in Southampton, New York. Dr. Economos was 90 and passed away peacefully of natural causes.
Dr. Economos was born in New York City in 1930, in the shadows of the Polo Grounds. He graduated in 1947 from Brooklyn Technical High School and went on to graduate from Polytechnic Institute of Brooklyn (now NYU Tandon) in 1958, summa cum laude, with a bachelor’s degree in Aeronautical Engineering. In 1960, he was awarded a master’s degree in Applied Mathematics and a Ph.D. in Aeronautics, also from Poly.
He began his professional career at General Applied Science Laboratory under the Italian aeronautical genius Antonio Ferri. Dr. Economos was fond of saying that Dr. Ferri was as important to America during the Cold War as Wernher von Braun was to the U.S. space program. He recalled how the Applied Science Lab had figured out hypersonic travel in the early 60s, but the U.S. government, at the time, was more focused on the space program.
Dr. Economos also worked at Princeton University’s Combustible Labs, working on Interior Ballistics. In 1976 he joined Brookhaven Labs as a Fluid Dynamics Engineer, where he remained until his retirement in 1999. He held a “Q” clearance, the highest civilian clearance for accessing top secret information from the U.S. government.
He was a published scientist, having written numerous papers on a variety of topics involving Hypersonic Wind Theories and Combustion Chemical Boundaries, published in periodicals by both MIT and the AIAA.
Connie, as he was known to friends and family, was a passionate Giants baseball fan, long after they left New York to play in San Francisco. He was always keen to enter any debate over Willie Mays being the best player of all time. He loved a good margarita and anything on the planet that had anything to do with ducks (most notably, Daffy and Donald). He also enjoyed a good laugh — which he always seemed to carry with him daily. He loved wearing his goofy, “I’m a Rocket Scientist” tee-shirt (complete with a Flash Gordon Rocket) and trying to convince all the bartenders that he really was one. He took his first skydive at the age of 70 and was a member of the Over 70 Ski Club near his resort home in Liberty, New York.
Dr. Economos was a resident of Riverhead, New York. He was predeceased by his first wife, Ruth, and his son, Michael. He is survived by his wife, Agnes; his brother, Stephen (Carol); stepdaughters, Karen (Robert) Bocksel and Cathy (Michael) Caruccio; daughter-in-law, Christine; six grandchildren, Richard, Emily, Rebecca, Brad, Nick and Lexi; and two great-grandchildren, Max and Milo.