Alumni giving back to inspire young engineers

3 Jul 2013 - 11:15

DavenportJustin and Tony Davenport, Emeritius Professor Rodney Davenport and Francis Petersen"

On Friday 28 June, the Dean hosted Tony Davenport (1981 civil engineering graduate); his father Emeritus Professor Rodney Davenport, (junior lecturer in the history department at UCT from 1953 to 1965) and Tony's son Justin, an Electro-Mechanical engineering student at UCT.

The occasion was to hand-over the Wind Wizard, a biography of Alan Davenport, the father of modern wind engineering who investigated how wind navigates the obstacle course of the earth's natural and built environments - and how, when not properly heeded, wind causes buildings and bridges to teeter unduly, sway with abandon, and even collapse.

Tony said, "Alan's story and achievements are inspirational to young engineers, and it is an honour to contribute this small memory to the Faculty."

Alan was the brother of Emeritus Rodney Professor Davenport and passed away three years ago. He was a Professor at the University of Western Ontario and was well known for his work and in particular the development of the Boundary Layer Wind Tunnel Laboratory which has been an international leader in research and testing. Many of the tallest buildings and largest bridges in the world were tested in the laboratory.

Prof Davenport said Alan's work was all about safety and what impact his research had made on societies. "Alan cared for people and his desire was to make the world a better place through the application of knowledge."

Alan grew up in South Africa and attended school at Michaelhouse before attending Cambridge University. He maintained strong ties to South Africa and was an acquaintance of Professor John Martin, a previous Dean of the Engineering Faculty at UCT.

Professor Francis Petersen, present Dean of the Faculty said, "It was very appropriate that the handover of the book took place in the John Martin Board Room. We greatly appreciate our alumni giving back to the Faculty."