Thring, M.W. 1915-2006

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Thring, M.W. 1915-2006
(Meredith Wooldridge Thring)


See index for CA sketch: Born December 17, 1915, in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia; died September 15, 2006. Engineer, educator, inventor, and author. A founder of what is now the Royal Academy of Engineering, Thring taught at British universities and made advances in robotics, hydrodyamic engineering, fuel technology, and even in ways to feed the poor. After graduating from Cambridge University in 1937, he conducted combustion research for the British Coal Utilisation Research Association. During World War II, he developed a way to propel vehicles using gas fuels from burning wood. After the war, Thring was head of physics and assistant director of the British Iron and Steel Research Association for seventeen years. He then moved on to academia, and he taught at the University of Sheffield for eleven years. Thring spent the rest of his academic career at Queen Mary College in London, as professor and head of the department of mechanical engineering from 1964 to 1981. During his career, Thring researched a wide array of problems, including robotics—he developed robots that fought fires—magneto thermodynamics, and methods for reducing drag on ships. He also worked on ways to help children suffering from the effects of thalidomide. A fellow at several professional institutes and former president of the Institute of Energy, Thring became an activist in Africa after retiring. He adopted a Tanzanian village, founded a charity, and developed a way to make cheap food from the common water hyacinth to feed people near Lake Victoria. Thring published a number of books over the years, including The Science of Flames and Furnaces (1962), Machines: Masters or Slaves of Man? (1973), and Robots and Telechirs (1983).



Times (London, England), October 24, 2006, p. 74.