Emeritus Associate Professor Brian Paddon
Emeritus Associate Professor Brian Paddon passed away on 20 June 2015 having been an academic in the Department of Chemical Engineering from 1969 until his retirement in 1994. Brian was born in Calcutta, India, in 1932 and spent his early childhood in Amritsar and attended school in Darjeeling. During WW II he and his sister were sent to back to South Africa and Brian matriculated at St Andrews College in Grahamstown in 1950. He went on to UCT where he graduated with a degree in Applied and Industrial Chemistry (shortly thereafter to become Chemical Engineering). His first job was at Mobil refinery in Durban where he was involved in the early development of Mobil’s first fluidized catalytic cracking unit. He returned to Cape Town in 1963 continuing to work with Mobil and during that time completed his MBA as one of the first graduates from UCT’s Graduate School of Business. In 1969 Brian left the corporate world for a position in the Department of Chemical Engineering at UCT joining other luminaries from the early days of Chemical Engineering such as the late Donald Carr and Heinrich Buhr. The Department in those days was quite small with only a handful of lecturers and graduating classes of between10-20. However Brian and his colleagues created a wonderful foundation for what is today widely regarded as one of the leading Departments of Chemical Engineering globally. The Department benefited greatly from having someone on its lecturing staff with such extensive industrial experience and Brian became renowned as the convener of the tough Design Course which is the capping course to the Chemical Engineering degree. His knowledge of chemical engineering processes was legendary and through this he made an enormously positive impact on generations of chemical engineering students. Brian Paddon, ever cheerful and pleasant to all and sundry, was passionate about his teaching and will be fondly remembered by colleagues not only in Chemical Engineering but also in all the Engineering Departments at UCT. Staff and students will recall how wonderfully helpful he was at all times to students struggling with the basics of chemical engineering and to new young academics still finding their feet. The University and Chemical Engineering in particular are deeply indebted to Brian for his dedicated and passionate contributions to the Department over almost three decades and he will long be remembered by all those with whom he came into contact.
Professor Alan Nurick
Professor Alan Nurick died in December 2014 after a long fight with cancer. He graduated from the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Cape Town in 1963. Since 2006, Professor Nurick was a Professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering Science at the University of Johannesburg.
Professor Duncan Fraser
Duncan Fraser graduated with a first-class honours degree in Chemical Engineering at UCT in 1968. After completing his PhD and working for three years at the Caltex refinery in Milnerton, he returned to lecture in the Chemical Engineering Department at UCT in 1979. He quickly became engaged in the challenges of teaching an increasingly diverse student body.
Duncan played a significant role in curriculum development and in establishing two Academic Development Lecturer posts in the Chemical Engineering department. He was also a founder member of the Centre for Research in Engineering Education (CREE) and actively involved in the broader development of UCT’s undergraduate education.
Duncan’s research on teaching and learning in engineering education was internationally recognised and he was regarded as a leader in the field. Most recently, he was recognised in his appointment as President-Elect to the International Federation of Engineering Education Societies (IFEES).
Professor Duncan Fraser retired from the UCT Chemical Engineering Department at the end of 2011 as an Emeritus Professor, after 32 years on the academic staff.
His passing at the age of 67 has been a shock to a wide community of academics and students with whom he was still very actively engaged. His legacy is not only the field of Engineering Education at UCT, which he pioneered, but also the influence that he had on the many students, staff and colleagues who were mentored, encouraged and inspired by him.