Professor John Arthur Shercliff (1927-1983)

Head of Department, October-December 1983

Shercliff had read Engineering at Cambridge, graduating in 1949 with many distinctions. He then went to Harvard for a year, and returned to England as an apprentice with A.V. Roe & Co in Manchester, the city of his birth.

John ShercliffHe returned to Cambridge to work for a PhD under Will Hawthorne, on Magnetohydrodynamics. He dominated this subject in the 1950s and 1960s. He was appointed to a university lectureship in 1957, and became a Fellow at Trinity in 1958. In 1964 he left Cambridge to become the Founding Professor of Engineering Science at the new University of Warwick, and Head of Department of Engineering. There he was able to develop a course based on his very strong beliefs that the key to engineering success was the powerful unifying influence of mathematics, which had to be put into the context of real world problems.