Emeritus Professor Duncan Dowson

Colleagues will be sorry to hear of the death, on 6 January 2020, of Emeritus Professor Duncan Dowson CBE FRS FREng.

He was a former Pro-Vice-Chancellor of the University and Professor of Engineering Fluid Mechanics and Tribology.

Duncan was an outstanding engineering scientist. His learned society publications approached 400 in number, with incisive and ground-breaking work in two main fields – elastohydrodynamic theory and biotribology.

He began his career at Leeds in 1954, retiring half-a-century later. During that time, he was a popular and dedicated lecturer, and contributed enormously to the work of the University as Head of Department, Dean and Pro-Vice-Chancellor, and he retained a lively and active interest in the life and work of the institution even after retirement.

He was recognised externally as Deputy President and then President of the Institute of Mechanical Engineers, and was one of a very small number of honorary life members of the Institute of Mechanical Engineers and the equivalent US body, the American Society of Mechanical Engineers.

He was awarded the CBE in 1989 for his contribution to engineering, and in 2001 the Institute of Mechanical Engineers awarded him its highest honour, the James Watt International Gold Medal, presented ‘to an engineer, of any nationality, deemed worthy of the highest award a mechanical engineer can receive'.

Duncan will be greatly missed by former students and colleagues. A full University tribute is being prepared.

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