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Ronald Nathan Arnold

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Professor Ronald Nathan Arnold (1908-1963) of Edinburgh University

1964 Obituary [1]

Prof. R. N. Arnold (Member), who died on the 30th December 1963, had been Regius Professor of Engineering at the University of Edinburgh since 1946. He had an international reputation as an engineer and educationalist.

Professor Arnold served his apprenticeship at Mirrlees Watson Co. Ltd Glasgow, and received his early technical education at the Royal Technical College, Glasgow.

He then went to the University of Sheffield where he was awarded the degree of Ph.D. for research on high temperature properties of metals. He was elected to a Commonwealth Fund Fellowship in 1934 and during the following two years investigated impact stresses in beams at the University of Illinois. After a further period at the R.T.C., he joined the Research Department of Metropolitan-Vickers Electrical Co. Ltd, where his work was concerned mainly with mechanical vibration. In 1943 the University of Glasgow awarded him the D.Sc. for his achievements in this field and later he was awarded the D.Eng. by the University of Sheffield. He was Professor of Engineering at the University College of Swansea from 1944-1946.

Professor Arnold became an Associate Member of the Institution in 1936 and transferred to Member in 1942. He was awarded the T. Bernard Hall Prize in 1957, the Thomas Lowe Gray Prize in 1940, the Thomas Hawksley Gold Medal in 1946 and an Institution Prize in 1952.

In 1940 he was awarded the Gold Medal of the Institution of Engineers and Shipbuilders in Scotland. His publications were exceptionally varied and included work on the embrittlement of steels, the cutting of metals, and impact. But his best-known contributions were made to our understanding of mechanical vibration and gyro-dynamics; in these fields his activities had a far-reaching effect on modern research developments and long ago established him as a leading authority. He contributed an article in the Review of Progress series of this journal in October 1961.

To all his work Professor Arnold brought an outstanding combination of theoretical and experimental abilities, coupled with an essentially practical outlook, and these qualities were no less marked in his lectures. To his students and colleagues he gave a rare appreciation of the excitement and the skill of engineering at its best.

1963 Obituary [2]

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