Issue 6 Summer 2007

Society of Oxford University Engineers

Welcome to the sixth issue of SOUE News

The Department of Engineering Science is about to celebrate its Centenary (1908-2008). We expect to treat this at some length next year; in the meantime our middle pages contain the programme of events the Department has organised. It starts with our Jenkin Day on 15 September, and information about that is available.

SOUE News is a bit bigger this year, not only because of the Centenary, but also because the Post Office has changed its charges, and we can now post a 100 g package (instead of 60 g) with a standard second-class stamp.

Among numerous other items, we have two articles by former undergraduates, a practice we are very keen to promote. Peter Meanley graduated from Wadham in 1959, and has had a civil engineering career much devoted to dry docks. He was moved by long experience of corrosion problems to ask what undergraduates were taught about it these days. On hearing, to his amazement, that "we don't do corrosion" in the syllabus for civil engineers (or for anyone else apparently), he wrote for us this article. Read it and be warned!

Andy Pyle went down 40 years after Peter, and has been working in the nuclear power industry. Nuclear power has been rather out of favour in this country (unlike France) for about 20 years now, but the prospect of global warming is making it likely that more such stations will soon be built. This surely is something that we should all have informed views about. Andy looks at the history and reviews the future possibilities.

Andy's title is "A nuclear renaissance?", and renaissance seems to be in vogue, since last year's Jenkin Lecture, by Professor Rod Smith, was entitled "Railways: the technical challenges of their renaissance". It was very well received by the audience, and a report on it is part of this newsletter.

This year's Lubbock Lecture was by Sir Martin Wood, founder of Oxford Instruments, and more recently a great supporter of scientific education and industry in Oxfordshire. A report on his lecture is included, but to get the real flavour and humour of it, you are strongly recommended to view the video on the Department's website (

Cryogenics has long been one of the Department's research fields, and highly relevant to Oxford Instruments, so one of the other two lectures on Lubbock Day, which we have included here, was by Paul Bailey, describing the refrigerators and associated compressors that they have developed over the years.

And there are the usual regular items, and obituaries of four people who were on the academic staff at various times, and have died during the year: David Dew-Hughes, Gareth Roberts, Herby Sixsmith and Les Woods.

In This Issue

Included With This Issue

Society of Oxford University Engineers
Department of Engineering Science
University of Oxford
Parks Road


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