Boeing Vice President Gives First John Fitzpatrick Memorial Lecture

Posted on: 25 February 2014

The inaugural John Fitzpatrick Memorial Lecture, established to honour the late John Fitzpatrick, Professor of Mechanical Engineering, Trinity College Dublin, was recently delivered by Bernard Hensey, Vice President, Fleet Management at Boeing. The special event brought together Engineering alumni, friends and family of John Fitzpatrick and those working in the engineering and aviation industries.

Professor John Fitzpatrick, FTCD, MRIA was Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Trinity from 1994-2012. He was originally appointed as lecturer in 1980 in a newly formed department. In this time he established a world class reputation for teaching and research in engineering in Trinity. John’s research was focussed on flow induced vibrations and attendant noise. This work dated back to his PhD studies in Queen’s University Belfast where he examined flow dynamics in heat exchanger arrays. His interest in the acoustics of these structures led to inquiring, life-long studies of the fundamental mechanisms of noise generation from turbulence and its application to jet engines.

Prof Brian Foley, Head, School of Engineering, Prof Henry Rice, Dept of Mechanical & Manufacturing Engineering, Mr Bernard Hensey, Vice President, Fleet Management  at Boeing, and Dr Patrick Prendergast, Provost, Trinity College Dublin at the John Fitzpatrick Memorial Lecture

Bernard Hensey’s lecture entitled ‘Design and Operation of Aircraft for the 21st Century’ outlined current technical developments in commercial aviation and the story behind the establishment of Boeing. He also focused on John Fitzpatrick’s enthusiasm in the establishment of world class research in engineering at Trinity and its link to emerging aerospace business in Ireland over this period. Prior to Bernard’s current role he was CEO of Boeing Shanghai Aviation for over three years. He is committed to entrepreneurship and the central placement of the R&D discussion in Ireland and he has acted as chairman of both the Irish Software Association and the Trinity Engineering School Development Board, originally established by John Fitzpatrick.

The Provost of Trinity, Dr Patrick Prendergast launched the Fitzpatrick Memorial Medal at the lecture which was designed by Professor David Taylor and Mr Gerard Byrne, School of Engineering, both colleagues of John’s. The medal will be awarded annually to the best Engineering student in the newly established 5-year MAI programme.

The medal’s design reflects some aspect of John’s work and interests, especially his lifelong fascination with physical phenomena such as fluid flow and noise generation.  It is loosely based on the results of an experiment to demonstrate turbulent flow, but rendered in a rather abstract fashion so that it can be interpreted in different ways, as some type of natural phenomenon in the process of being recorded and studied. There’s a sense of the classic Celtic spiral form too, recalling John’s pride in his Irish heritage.