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Professor Dame Ann Dowling
Professor Dame Ann Dowling DBE FRS FREng CEng HonFIMechE, Head of the UK’s biggest Department of Engineering, leading 145 academic staff, at the University of Cambridge. On 22 February, she was appointed as an Honorary Fellow of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers.
Ann Dowling is Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Head of the Department of Engineering at the University of Cambridge. In 1993, she became the first woman to be appointed to a professorship in the Engineering Department at the university.
Much of Professor Dowling’s success has been achieved in a branch of engineering where female representation is particularly low – aeronautics – making her a vital role model in such a male-dominated industry.
She works primarily in the fields of combustion, acoustics and vibration and her research is aimed, in particular, at low-emission combustion and quiet vehicles. She was the UK lead of the Silent Aircraft Initiative, a collaboration between researchers at Cambridge and MIT who have released the conceptual design of an ultra-low noise and fuel efficient aircraft, SAX40.
Professor Dowling’s current research continues to benefit society as it aims to lower not only the sound pollution of combustion engines but also emissions. This makes her a key figure in the aviation industry’s ambitions to reduce its carbon footprint.
She was previously Director of the University Gas Turbine Partnership with Rolls-Royce and Head of the Division in which research in aeronautics and energy is carried out at the University of Cambridge.
Professor Dowling has held visiting posts at MIT (Jerome C Hunsaker Visiting Professor of Aerospace Systems, 1999-2000) and at Caltech (Moore Distinguished Scholar 2001-02).
She is a Fellow of the Royal Society, Royal Academy of Engineering (Vice-President 1999-2002) and is a Foreign Associate of the US National Academy of Engineering and of the French Academy of Sciences.Professor Dowling serves on a number industry and government advisory committees. She was a member of EPSRC Council 2001-06, and chaired their Technical Opportunities Panel (2003-06). She also chaired the Royal Society/Royal Academy of Engineering study on nanotechnology. Currently she is chair of the Physical Sciences, Engineering and Mathematics Panel in the Research Excellence Framework – the UK government’s review of research in universities and has recently been appointed a non-executive director of BP.
She was appointed CBE for services to Mechanical Engineering in 2002 and DBE for services to Science in 2007.
Professor Dowling has always been engaged in outreach activities, including talks and demonstrations for school children, preparing major exhibits about the Silent Aircraft Initiative for The Royal Society Summer Science Exhibition and the Science Museum.
As Patron of the Women’s Engineering Society (WES), Professor Dowling delivers numerous lectures to engineering or science groups.
The Times Eureka Science List of the top 100 people (October 2010) puts Ann Dowling at position 37 and so within the top 10 of the most important women in science.
Professor Dowling has also been recognised in the UKRC 2011 Women of Outstanding Achievement Awards. She was the successful candidate in the Inspiration and Leadership in Academia and Research category.Previous Honorary Fellows of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers are listed at http://heritage.imeche.org/honoraryfellows/home
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