John Harold Horlock was one of the outstanding engineers of his generation. His expertise was in the thermodynamics and fluid mechanics of turbines and compressors, as used for jet engines and for power generation. He made major contributions to this field over 60 years. After graduating from Cambridge he worked for Rolls-Royce for two years before returning to Cambridge to study for his PhD, and was subsequently appointed a lecturer in engineering and a Fellow of St John's College. At the age of 30 he was elected to the Harrison Chair of Mechanical Engineering at Liverpool, where he remained for nine years, producing an impressive amount of individual research as well as transforming the department into one of the best in the country. Returning to a chair at Cambridge he reorganized the Mechanical Sciences Tripos and founded the Whittle Laboratory, which became one of the world's leading centres for turbomachinery research. He then became Vice-Chancellor of Salford University, remaining there for seven years before moving on to become Vice-Chancellor of the Open University. After retirement at the of age 62 he continued to be very active: as a consultant, as Treasurer and Vice President of the Royal Society, as a frequent visitor to the Whittle Laboratory and as the author of many papers and several books. Knighted in 1996, Sir John Horlock will be remembered not only for his intellectual abilities but also for his personal skills, which enabled him to interact freely with all levels of society, from cabinet ministers to graduate students.
- © 2016 The Author(s)
Published by the Royal Society