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Event Organiser: ICE

William Froude, a Devonian civil engineer, Exeter

  • Lecture
  • Exeter
  • 20 February 2020
  • 18:00 - 19:30
William Froude, a Devonian civil engineer, Exeter

About this event

Exeter City Club invite you to an evening lecture about William Froude (1810-1879) who was born at Dartington Parsonage near Exeter and lived in Devon for most of his life. William Froude studied mathematics and classics at Oriel College, Oxford, before embarking on a career as a civil engineer and naval architect. His legacy, Froude scaling and its application in model tests, still influences civil engineering worldwide.

This seminar will focus on Froude’s life, commencing with his extended and highly talented Devonian family, and then briefly outline several of his contributions to railway engineering, hydrodynamics, and aerodynamics. William Froude’s son, Edmund, was also a notable civil engineer, who developed methods that are nowadays applied to the analysis of ship propellers, wind turbines, and tidal stream devices.

William Froude’s nephew, Arnulph Mallock, was the first person to identify the alternating vortex street behind an obstacle in a stream, such as a bridge pier. The seminar will conclude with a description of Froude’s lasting impact on ship testing, the automotive industry, railway locomotive testing, and even on biomechanics.

We are meeting at 6pm for light refreshments with the lecture commencing at 6:30pm, followed by Q&A.


Alistair Borthwick

Alistair has more than 40 years’ experience in civil engineering. He is a Professor at The University of Edinburgh, an Emeritus Fellow of St Edmund Hall, Oxford, and holds Visiting Professorships at Peking, Plymouth, and Shanghai Jiao Tong Universities.

In the late 1970s, Alistair was employed by the South West Water Authority. In the early 1980s, he worked for Brown & Root (UK) Ltd on the design of offshore structures, notably the Hutton tension leg platform which won the Queen’s Award for Technological Achievement in 1984. Alistair later became a Professor of Engineering Science at the University of Oxford, where he worked for 21 years from 1990-2011. He was Head of Civil & Environmental Engineering at University College Cork from 2011-13, where he was the Founding Director of the SFI Centre for Marine and Renewable Energy Ireland which presently employs 200 people and involves more than 50 companies.

Alistair’s research interests include environmental fluid mechanics, coastal and ocean engineering, and marine renewable energy. In 2019, he was awarded the Gold Medal of the Institution of Civil Engineers for his lifetime contributions to civil engineering. Alistair grew up in south Devon, where he now lives.

Event venue

University of Exeter Streatham Campus
Room 106 Harrison Building
Streatham Drive
Exeter EX4 4QF
United Kingdom

For more information please contact:

Barbara Sweet

e: [email protected]