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Professor Philip A Wilson BSc(Hons), DSc, CEng, FRINA

Emeritus Professor

Professor Philip A Wilson's photo

Professor Philip A Wilson is Emeritus Professor of Ship Dynamics within Engineering and Physical Sciences at the University of Southampton.

Philip studied Mathematics for his first degree at the University of Leicester and was subsequently awarded a DSc by the University of Leicester. Following work for Plessey Underwater systems he started in the University in 1973 as a research fellow in the former Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics as part of the fledgling Ship Science group. He is a founder member of the former Department of Ship Science and a Fellow of the Royal Institution of Naval Architects. Currently he is editor of the International Journal of Maritime Engineering and the Journal of Royal Institution of Naval Architects. He has published more than 250 academic papers and has appeared in such television programmes as Blue Peter, What Sank the Mary Rose? and as a judge in Scrapheap Challenge.

Philip has successfully supervised more than 30 doctoral students in subjects spanning seakeeping, ship manoeuvring, autonomous underwater vehicle control and guidance, sail aerodynamics, preliminary ship design, underwater noise to race car aerodynamics.

He has been the recipient of awards from the Royal Institution of Naval Architects in terms of the medal distinction twice in recent years as well as the award of the Donald Groen medal from the IMechE. Also he was part of a team was that awarded the RINA-Lloyd’s Register Ship Safety award.

He is also director of the multi-University MTEC course which provides education at MSc on a part-time basis for fully employed naval architects, marine engineers and offshore engineers, details at

Research interests

Philip has supported research supervsion for doctoral students in the following areas: seakeeping, ship manoeuvring, control of surface following ships, control of autonomous underwater vehicles, fluid dynamic flow in composite materials, collision avoidance techniques. Recent research has been funded on contract from the EU in the following areas: reduction of ship wash, updating the aspects of voyage data recorders (black boxes), autonomous underwater vehicle design and operation. A Tempus project is underway with the emphasis on masters and doctoral education training with Russia, Poland, Ukraine as partners. Within the UK funding is current from the RNLI in studying the performance of rigid inflatable boats, both the A and D classes. He has current interests in historic ships and the development of these during the past 500 years. Current research students are working on prediction of turbulence levels associated with flow around offshore structures; the optimisation of a fleet of AUVs; and the performance characteristics of RIBs. Finally the Lloyd’s register Foundation collegium is being funded this year for the third time with 25 researchers fully funded for a period of nine weeks to study Eco-cities.

Research group

Maritime Engineering

Research project(s)

Linear interaction between compressibility and a gravity field for barotropic fluids

The effect of flexibility on the design and performance of inflatable boats, plus environmental considerations

Optimisation of a fleet of AUVs to minimise energy dissipation

Novel statistical approaches to chemical, biological or radiological source term estimation

Assessment of the effectiveness of fuel cell as an alternative technology for marine propulsion systems

Development of Printed Smart Fabric Sensors for the Marine Industry

Safety of shipping is a key factor in the marine industry. Ships are designed to common standards to ensure survivability, and regular maintenance schedules are used to ensure a ship remains sea-worthy. However vessels are still being lost due to unexpected structural failure. The purpose of this project is to develop a smart monitoring system for ships using smart fabric sensor technology which can be used in the design process at model scale, and for in-situ monitoring at full scale in order to reduce unexplained ship losses.

  • Director of MTEC, the multi university part-time degree programme run in conjunction with Newcastle,
  • Strathclyde, UCL and Southampton;
  • Subject Panel Chair for Mathematics
  • Part 3 Ship Science co-ordinator
Professor Philip A Wilson
Engineering, University of Southampton, Southampton Boldrewood Innovation Campus, Burgess Road, Southampton, SO16 7QF

Room Number : 176

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