Professor William Austyn Mair

Francis Mond Professor of Aeronautical Engineering 1952-83
Head of Department 1973-83

William Austyn MairIn 1973 Austyn Mair, the Francis Mond Professor of Aeronautical Engineering, succeeded Hawthorne as Head of Department. When he had first arrived in Cambridge in 1952, he took over the existing aeronautical facilities from Melvill Jones, consisting of three small wind tunnels in a wooden hut. He worked with Professor Hawthorne to forge links with the heat transfer laboratories, and to establish the new aeronautical laboratory in the South Wing of the Baker Building, a position which it still holds to this day.

Austyn Mair graduated from Clare College in 1939, with first class honours. He remembers being encouraged in his studies of aeronautics by the friendly attentiveness of Melvill Jones. On graduating, he spent six months at Rolls Royce, before joining the RAF as a Technical Officer. He well remembers leaving the factory where he served as an engineering pupil on a Friday, and on the Monday when he returned, war having been declared on the Sunday, the sky light windows were already blacked out and the cars had all been removed for safekeeping elsewhere.