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Fellows Directory

Duncan Dowson

Duncan Dowson

Professor Duncan Dowson CBE FREng FRS


Elected: 1987


Duncan Dowson is a mechanical engineer with research interests in tribology, including elastohydrodynamic lubrication (EHL), biotribology and the history of tribology. His EHL studies contributed to the control of power loss, efficiency and machine reliability, and his biotribology research enhanced understanding of the performance of natural and replacement joints. In 1954, he joined the University of Leeds as Professor Fluid Mechanics and Tribology, later serving as Head of the Department of Mechanical Engineering and Pro-Vice Chancellor. Since his retirement in 1993, he has remained at Leeds as Emeritus Professor.

He served on UK government and research council committees such as the Jost Committee on Tribology. He holds many awards for his work, including the 1979 Tribology Gold Medal and seven honorary degrees. At Leeds, he helped to found the Bio-Engineering Group for the Study of Human Joints and the now annual Leeds–Lyon Symposium on Tribology. He has published 600 papers and 5 books, and is the former Editor of several engineering journals. He was President of the Institute of Mechanical Engineers from 1992–1993.

Professor Duncan Dowson CBE FREng FRS died on 6 January 2020.

Interest and expertise

Subject groups

  • Engineering
    • Engineering, mechanical
  • Other
    • History of science
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