In Memoriam: Professor Ken Wallace

Ken Wallace 1944-2018

It is with great sadness that the Design Society has learnt of the death of founder member and Honorary Fellow Professor Ken Wallace.

Ken was awarded his BSc in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology in 1967 after which he returned to Rolls-Royce to complete his university apprenticeship. There, he won the University Apprentice of the Year Prize in 1968, working in various engineering departments before leaving Rolls-Royce in 1971 to help form a small engineering company.

Ken was appointed Lecturer in Engineering Design at the University of Cambridge in 1978, Deputy Head of the Engineering Department in 1997 and Professor of Engineering Design in 2001. He coordinated the setting up of the Engineering Design Centre (EDC) at Cambridge in 1991 and was its first Director. He retired from the Department at the end of 2007.

During his time at Cambridge, Ken made many contributions to the worldwide design research community. From 1990 to 1996, he was Editor-in-Chief (Europe) of the journal Research in Engineering Design. He was responsible for translating and editing all three English editions of the standard reference text ‘Engineering Design – A Systematic Approach’ by Pahl and Beitz, leading to the award in 2001 of the ASME Ruth and Joel Spira Outstanding Design Educator Award and, in 2002, the Sir Misha Black Award for Innovation in Design Education. His research led to the development of the Design Rationale Editor, for which he received, in 2005, the Rolls-Royce Research and Technology Director’s Award for Creativity. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering in 1999, and made an Honorary Fellow of the Design Society in 2007, having served on the Society’s Advisory Board from 2001 to 2011. He was awarded an honorary doctorate (DEng) from Brunel University in 2011.

At Ken’s Festschrift in 2005, held in celebration of his 60th birthday, the event began with everyone introducing himself or herself and providing testimony as to why they had felt compelled to attend. What emerged, from the attendees from five continents, was a diverse and fascinating picture of Ken’s contribution to the field of engineering design through his scholarship in research, excellence in teaching, unassuming leadership and, perhaps most importantly, his capacity for mentoring and guiding young researchers. Ken clearly left an indelible mark on all those he taught, supervised and worked with over many years.

Ken also gave so much to the international design research community, not only through his own efforts, but also through encouraging the efforts of others. It was a characteristic of Ken that he was always far more interested in building a thriving community than in furthering his own ambitions and it is the way in which he gave, with wisdom delivered unselfishly and with such modest good humour, that ensures that so many of us held him in such high regard.

The Design Society recognises Ken for his exceptional contribution to the community and his unrelenting passion for engineering design.

Ken is survived by his wife, Annette, their children Harriot and Lizzy and their families.

John Clarkson and Chris McMahon

Ken Wallace, 1944-2018

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