Engineering and the Environment

Professor Martin Lowson, 1938 – 2013

24 June 2013


Professor Martin Lowson, former undergraduate and PhD student dies aged 75 .

Martin Vincent Lowson was born in Totteridge, Hertfordshire, on 5 January, 1938. He attended the University of Southampton, where he was awarded a BSc, Hons (first class) in 1960 in the Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics. He then continued his studies as a PhD student in 1963.

As a postgraduate he was also part of the team from Southampton which achieved the world’s first authenticated instance of human powered aircraft flight, when the team’s place, the University of Southampton Man Powered Aircraft, took off at Lasham Airfield in November, 1961. Martin said ‘driving the chase car with the whole team aboard as the aircraft took off was an incredible thrill’.

His doctoral work in the University’s Aeronautics and Astronautics Department was on ‘The Separated Flows on Slender Wings in Unsteady Motion’. Following the award of his PhD, he spent a year in the Institute of Sound & Vibration Research where he worked on aero-acoustics. Three of his 1960s papers – ‘The Sound Field for Singularities in Motion’, ‘A Theoretical Study of Helicopter Rotor Noise’ and ‘Theoretical Analysis of Compressor Noise’ - are considered to be of fundamental significance in the theoretical understanding of noise generation. His lifetime contribution to the field of acoustics was recognised in 2011 by the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics Aeroacoustics Award.

The many honours gained during his career include:

• RAeS Award for contribution to world’s first manpowered flight 1961
• Fellow of the Acoustical Society of America 1969
• Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering 1991
• Busk Prize od Royal Aeronautical Society for best paper in Aerodynamics 1992
• Queens Award for Technology received by Westland Team for BERP blade 1994
• Fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics 1995
• British Wind energy Association Award for Research 1997
• NESTA Award for innovation 2000
• Altran Prize for Innovations to improve urban quality of life 2001
• Fellow Chartered Institute of Transport 2003
• Viva Award for Transport Innovation from Worshipful Company of Carmen 2010