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William John Goudie

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Professor William John Goudie (1868-1945) of Glasgow University

1868 November 6th. Born at Girvan, Ayrshire.

1945 October 4th. Died.

1945 Obituary [1]

1946 Obituary [2]

Professor WILLIAM JOHN GOUDIE was born at Girvan, Ayrshire, on 6th November 1868. He was educated at Girvan Parish School, Kilmarnock Academy, and the University of Glasgow. After leaving school, he served a five years' apprenticeship in the workshops of the Glasgow and South Western Railway Company, at Kilmarnock. This was followed by two and a half years further shop experience in the works of Dubs and Company, Glasgow, and four sessions at the University of Glasgow, where he graduated as Bachelor of Science.

During the vacations he had drawing office experience in Glasgow. On leaving the University he acted for a short period as draughtsman to Lamont and Company, Hawkhead, Paisley, and then became technical assistant to the late Mr. John Thom, consulting marine engineer, Glasgow. He left the commercial side of engineering in 1907, to join the engineering teaching staff of University College, London. While still a student he had commenced the teaching of evening engineering classes and this work he had continued (after leaving the University) at Paisley Technical College, where he organized and directed the evening engineering classes from 1899 until 1907.

At University College he was given full charge of engineering laboratory organization, in addition to teaching and lecturing. His lecture work latterly included a post-graduate course in the Theory and Practice of Steam Turbines. In 1910, he was appointed Assistant Professor, and in 1914 he became Reader in the Theory and Practice of Heat Engines, at University College. He acted for ten years as an internal examiner for London University B.Sc. (Engineering). From 1914 to 1917 he assisted Professor E. G. Coker at the College in experimental work on aeroplane materials for the Air Board, and during 1917-19 he carried out an independent research on the effect of high-spin, pressure, and temperature on the time of burning of anti-aircraft shell fuses, and the causation of "blinds". This urgent pioneer work led to a marked improvement in the air raid barrage fire.

Further, the system of laboratory investigation developed, enabled the necessary fuse scale to be determined without reference to gun trials. The results were embodied in the text of the artillery book on the Theory of Anti-Aircraft Gunnery. They were also made the basis for a mathematical paper by Bairstow and Fowler, to the Royal Society, on the variation of pressure on the nose of a shell in flight. The record of this work, together with a comprehensive textbook on steam turbines, with other scientific papers, formed a thesis for the degree of D.Sc., awarded to Professor Goudie by the University of Glasgow, in June 1919.

In October 1919 he was recalled to Glasgow, as a senior assistant to Professor J. D. Cormack, and also undertook the duties of lecturer in heat engines and engineering design. He took a large share in the task of reorganizing the engineering department, and helping the large number of ex-service men on their return. In 1921 he was appointed to the newly founded James Watt Chair of the Theory and Practice of Heat Engines. With untiring energy, he developed the class and laboratory work for seventeen years. He was Dean of the Faculty from 1935 until his retirement at the age limit of seventy on 30th September 1938. In this period he published a much enlarged second edition of his textbook on steam turbines, and a completely rewritten edition of Ripper's "Steam Engine Theory and Practice".

In addition he contributed a number of scientific papers to engineering societies and the technical press, and developed a simple form of energy chart for gases for the thermodynamic analysis of internal combustion engine and turbine performance and estimation of efficiencies. On his retirement he was entertained and presented with a handsome sum of money, subscribed by friends within and without the University. He handed this gift to the University, to found an annual prize for the best student proceeding to the B.Sc. degree.

Outside his purely professional activities, he was an enthusiastic musician, and he was the leading spirit in the foundation of the University Orchestral Society. In recognition of his long record of University work, the Senate of the University of Glasgow conferred on him the Honorary Degree of Doctor of Laws, in June 1939. In 1908 he presented a paper entitled "Direct Graphical Method of deriving the Temperature-entropy Diagram of the Gas-engine from the Indicator Diagram". Professor Goudie was transferred to Membership in 1911. He was also an Associate Member of the Institution of Civil Engineers. His death occurred on 4th October 1945.

James Small, D.Sc., Ph.D., M.I.Mech.E.

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