Professor William Austyn Mair
Francis Mond Professor of Aeronautical Engineering 1952-83
Head of Department 1973-83
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
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.