Re­search ca­reer in­spired by wartime at­tacks

Lennox Herald - - INTIMATION­S -

Pro­fes­sor Bryan Ed­wards Richards Born: June 30, 1938, in Hornchurch, Lon­don Died: Oc­to­ber 30, 2017, in He­lens­burgh The deadly roar of doo­dle­bugs struck ter­ror into the hearts of Lon­don­ers when Bri­tain’s south­ern cities and ports were bom­barded with Ger­manV1 mis­siles dur­ing the Se­condWorldW­ar.

Thou­sands of these buzz bombs were launched from Ger­man ar­ma­ment place­ments along the French and Dutch coasts on June 13, 1944, in re­tal­i­a­tion for the suc­cess­ful Al­lied land­ings in Europe which had taken place a week ear­lier.

One small boy was not fright­ened, how­ever. Pro­fes­sor Bryan Ed­wards Richards, who has died sud­denly in He­lens­burgh, aged 79, was in­spired as these dead­lyV-weapons or vergel­tungswaf­fen (vengeance weapons), roared out of the sky above his home in Hornchurch, east Lon­don.

Young Richards watched awestruck as Messer­schmitts and Spit­fires fought out fierce dog-fights and crashed and burned over the towns and cities of Eng­land’s south coast.The buzz bombs or doo­dle­bugs caught Richards’ imag­i­na­tion to the ex­tent that he chose aero­nau­ti­cal engi­neer­ing as a ca­reer.

Richards stud­ied at Queen Mary Col­lege, which is now the Queen Mary Univer­sity of Lon­don Un­der Pro­fes­sor AlecYoung he com­pleted a course in re­search and de­vel­op­ment in air­craft and their sim­u­la­tion.

In the 1960s com­pu­ta­tions were gen­er­ally done us­ing slide-rules and math­e­mat­i­cal ta­bles.

When Richards joined the Bris­tol Air­craft Com­pany they were do­ing sums us­ing cal­cu­lat­ing machines.There were no dig­i­tal com­put­ers avail­able then.

They needed ur­gently to con­vince air­lines, gov­ern­ments and safety reg­u­la­tors to in­tro­duce su­per­sonic trans­port air­craft.Their work re­sulted in Con­corde.

Richards then joined Im­pe­rial Col­lege Lon­don, work­ing for Pro­fes­sor John Stollery, where his fo­cus was on hy­per­sonic aero­dy­nam­ics.

The pro­fes­sor joined the fac­ulty of theVon Kar­man In­sti­tute in Bel­gium in 1967 to set up a high-en­thalpy lab­o­ra­tory.

In 1980 Richards moved as pro­fes­sor to the Univer­sity of Glas­gow, where his re­search ac­tiv­i­ties in Glas­gow in­volved ap­pli­ca­tion to in­ter­dis­ci­pli­nary prob­lems such as flight me­chan­ics and flow con­trol of fixed-wing and ro­tor air­craft, all car­ried out with na­tional and in­ter­na­tional part­ners.

He re­tired from the Mechan Chair in the depart­ment of aerospace engi­neer­ing af­ter a ca­reer of 43 years in aerospace, in­clud­ing a pe­riod as ed­i­tor of the spe­cial­ist jour­nal Progress in Aerospace Sciences. He was also a board mem­ber, re­viewer and au­thor.

As emer­i­tus pro­fes­sor and honorary se­nior re­search fel­low in the depart­ment, he con­tin­ued to be based in Glas­gow un­til his sud­den death from a heart at­tack.

Dur­ing his un­der­grad­u­ate stud­ies in Lon­don Pro­fes­sor Richards de­vel­oped a pas­sion for sail­ing. It was in­evitable that, with the Firth of Clyde on their doorstep, for Richards and his wife Mar­garet, also a sailor, and a grow­ing fam­ily of four chil­dren this be­came the main pas­time.

His daugh­ter Emma be­came the first Bri­tish yachtswoma­n and youngest ever per­son to com­plete the Around Alone, a 29,000 mile, sin­gle-handed, round-the-world yacht race with stops, in an open 60ft boat in 2002/3. She now lives in New Zealand with her hus­band Mike San­der­son and their three chil­dren. Pro­fes­sor Richards’el­der daugh­ter Phillipa has been in­volved all her pro­fes­sional life in the aerospace and marine engi­neer­ing in­dus­try. She lives in Lon­don with her hus­band and two chil­dren.

The pro­fes­sor’s sons Andrew and David are engi­neer­ing grad­u­ates and ac­com­plished sailors. Andrew is mar­ried and lives with his wife and three sons in New Zealand.

David and his wife have two chil­dren and live in Lon­don.

Pro­fes­sor Richards, whose fu­neral took place at Cardross Cre­ma­to­rium, is sur­vived by his wife of nearly 50 years Mar­garet, his four chil­dren and ten grand­chil­dren. Bill Heaney

Died sud­denly Bryan Richards

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