Mechanical Engineering


Professor David Andrews awarded William Froude Medal for Naval Architecture

15 May 2020

Professor David Andrews, UCL Mechanical Engineering’s Professor of Engineering Design, has won the William Froude Medal.

David Andrews

Professor David Andrews, FREng, UCL Mechanical Engineering’s Professor of Engineering Design, has won the Royal Institution of Naval Architects’ (RINA) highest honour, the William Froude Medal. The William Froude Medal is awarded to individuals who have made a significant contribution to naval architecture and/or shipbuilding and whose achievements merit special consideration.

Professor Andrews’ impressive career at UCL started decades ago, as a MechEng undergrad. He subsequently completed the first PhD on ship design, while lecturing, and returned again to UCL some ten years later to be the sixth professor of naval architecture at UCL. In 2000, he was appointed Chair of Engineering Design, following his early retirement from his first career as a naval designer in the UK Ministry of Defence. Throughout his current tenure, Professor Andrews has proved to be an invaluable member of the Mechanical Engineering Department, where he led the Department’s Research Committee, and set up a new Design Research Centre which is focused on computer-aided preliminary ship/submarine design, trimaran research, and design methodology for complex systems.

Professor Andrews’ long career in ship design – and, for the last 20 years, career at UCL Mechanical Engineering – has meant that he is an acknowledged international authority on ship design practice and methodology, with colleagues touting him as “probably the most experienced designer of surface warships in the UK today…” and his research deemed to “be required reading for all young ship designers.” In addition to writing the most comprehensive set of published papers on ship design practice and Trimaran ship design (three hulled vessels), Professor Andrews gained national recognition after being interviewed live on News at One when HMRY BRITANNIA visited the Pool of London for the last time, and starring in a children’s TV programme on flotation and stability.

Professor Yiannis Ventikos, Head of Department, UCL Mechanical Engineering, said, “David has been the bedrock of naval architecture design, in the UK and internationally, for many years, and through innumerable contributions. The William Froude Medal from RINA recognizes his stature and the long-lasting significance of his work. Much deserved, and a jewel in the crown of our department’s long history in naval architecture.”

On being honoured with the award, Professor Andrews said, “I was eight years old, driving a pilot cutter in Australia, when I was asked if I wanted to be a sailor. I replied, ‘No, I want to design ships.’ Now, after a 50-year career that included stopping a burning Icelandic fishing boat from capsizing, witnessing the first Harrier ski-jump take-off, submitting a new Royal Yacht design to Mrs Thatcher and then the Palace, and being responsible for the first Trimaran ship build, receiving the award of the William Froude Medal by my own engineering institution is the greatest accolade I can receive as a naval architect.”

Professor Andrews joins fellow UCL Mechanical Engineering colleague, Professor Jeom Kee Paik, in receiving this prestigious award, a unique joint accolade for the Department.

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