Professor Sir William Rede Hawthorne

Hopkinson and ICI Professor of Thermodynamics 1951-1980
Head of Department 1968-1973

William Rede HawthorneWilliam Rede Hawthorne, (now Sir William) the Professor of Thermodynamics, became Head of Department in 1968. Will Hawthorne had read Mathematics at Trinity in 1931, followed by a year in Mechanical Sciences. When he graduated, he spent two years working at Babcock and Wilcox before going to MIT, where he researched into laminar and tubulent flames.

He returned to Babcocks, and then joined the RAE in Farnborough, from where he was seconded to work with Frank Whittle at Power Jets, on combustion chamber development for the jet engine. Building on his work on the mixing of fuel and air in flames at MIT he derived the mixture for fast combustion; the chambers produced by his team were used in the first British jet aircraft.