He was born in Shanghai, China, in 1926, where he attended a German grade school, an English high school and a French university. He studied at U. C. Berkeley and at Oregon State University where he received a Ph.D. in 1952.

He is the originator of the Octave Levenspiel's fountain, which is a special kind of a diffusion machine.

Professor Octave Levenspiel was well known among his students for his ability to do quick back-of-the-envelope-calculations. GNU Octave, a high-level language primarily intended for numerical computations and developed by John W. Eaton, a former student of Octave Levenspiel, is named after him.

This author page uses material from the Wikipedia article "Octave Levenspiel", which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0