Death of Professor DE (Ted) Bowns

The University is saddened to announce the Death of Professor DE (Ted) Bowns who was an academic within the Faculty of Engineering for 23 years.

Ted retired from the University in 1988 following a long career at Bath which included him establishing of the Fluid Power Centre in 1968.

Born in 1924, Ted was brought up in Nottingham and studied at Nottingham University where he graduated with a BSc in Engineering in 1950. He subsequently completed National Service in the Royal Navy as an aircraft engineer.

He began his academic career in 1953 when he was an Assistant Lecturer at Nottingham and District Tech College. Three years later he took up the role of lecturer at Bristol College of Technology moving up to Senior Lecturer the following year and Principal Lecturer by 1961.

Professor Bowns (centre) with colleagues in 1980

In 1965 Ted joined the University of Bath as a Senior Lecturer and in 1968 established the Fluid Power Centre in what was called at the time the School of Engineering of Bath University of Technology.

The activities of the Centre initially focussed on the provision of Continuing Professional Development courses for engineers, consultancy, and engagement in applied research. Involvement with industry was of paramount importance.

Over the years the emphasis of activities in the Centre changed and the national and international research profile was greatly enhanced. In recognition of his many contributions, Ted was promoted to a Professorial Chair in 1976. 

Renamed the Centre for Power Transmission and Motion Control in 1998 the Centre is still thriving today within the Faculty of Engineering and Design.

Ted also held the role of Head of Department for Mechanical Engineering during the early 1980's and was instrumental in introducing the very first general access computers for undergraduate use, namely 8 Commodore P.E.T computers. This was the start of personal computing and indeed IT support for Undergraduate teaching.

Professor Kevin Edge, Deputy Vice-Chancellor, worked with Ted for a number of years and recalls the breadth of his interests: "Ted had a tremendously inventive mind and entrepreneurial spirit: new devices for controlling fluid flow; novel computer simulation techniques; the introduction of personal computers for use by undergraduate students (but long before this became commonplace in Universities) – all pioneering developments in their own way.

"Many student projects derived from his inventions. The early successes of the Centre and the Department of Mechanical Engineering owe much to Ted’s vision and energy."

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