Professor David E. Newland

Prof. D.E. Newland
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Prof. D.E. Newland ScD Hon.DEng FREng
David Newland is an Emeritus Professor of Engineering at the University of Cambridge. He was Head of the Engineering Department from 1996-2002 and is a previous Head of the Engineering Department’s Division of Mechanics, Materials and Design. He is a Fellow of Selwyn College and was a Deputy Vice-Chancellor of Cambridge University from 1999-2003.

After completing the Mechanical Sciences Tripos (predecessor of the Engineering Tripos), Rex Moir Prize 1956, Ricardo Prize with distinction 1957, David worked for the English Electric Company for several years before doing his PhD at MIT and becoming an Assistant Professor. He returned from the USA to Imperial College, moved to Sheffield University as Professor of Mechanical Engineering, and then returned to the Department in 1976. He was a Visiting Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Queen's University, Kingston in summer 1969 and 1970 helping to establish the Canadian Institute of Guided Ground Transport and was a consultant on railway suspension design to two American companies, United Aircraft Corporation (UAC history and wikipedia article) and Calspan Inc. Subsequently he became a consultant to British Rail and London Transport. He became a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering in 1982 (Member of Council 1985-87) and holds the ScD degree from Cambridge and Honorary DEng from Sheffield University. He served as a member of the Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution 1984-89 and was a member of the Engineering Council's Working Party on Risk Issues from 1990-93, and an official visitor at the Transport and Road Research Laboratory from 1990-92. He was a founding vice-president of the International Institute of Acoustics and Vibration. The Institute's 24th Annual Congress was held in London in 2017, the 25th in Hiroshima in 2018 and the 26th in Montreal in July 2019. Professor Newland was elected to Honorary Fellowship of the IIAV in 2005. He is a Fellow of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers and of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (2002 Applied Mechanics award) and a Fellow of the Acoustical Society of America.

David was a founding principal investigator of the Cambridge University Engineering Design Centre and worked on the Centre's original strategic plan and detailed programme. He was also instrumental in starting the Manufacturing Engineering Tripos in 1979. He was a Director of the Cambridge-MIT Institute from 1999 to 2002.

Research Interests
David's research has been in engineering design and, particularly, vibration analysis and control in engineering design. This has led him to study the design of many complex engineering systems including the Flixborough chemical plant and Piper Alpha oil rig. He is the author of two books: Random Vibrations, Spectral and Wavelet Analysis (3rd edition, Longman 1993) and Mechanical Vibration Analysis and Computation (Longman, 1989). From 2006, these books have been published in their classic series by Dover Publications Inc, New York. They are now available as Kindle editions. He developed harmonic wavelets for time-frequency analysis (see the full list of publications for the theory and development of harmonic wavelets; there is a key reference here and also a brief outline in wikipedia). Their main application is in understanding how vibration spectra change with time. In machinery dynamics, this may be important in order to learn why damaging vibration is occurring and how it can be modified or stopped. David's PhD research was on the design of centrifugal pendulum vibration absorbers for aircraft engines. In recent years these devices have been added to lightweight high-performance automobile engines. He is now working on computer studies of their nonlinear vibration. Research students who have worked with Prof Newland include Nelson Caldwell, Roger Aylward, Barry Biglow, Pierre Marcotte, Hugh Kenyon, Norman Watts, Bill Sneddon, David Cebon, Marie Gerlach, Hugh Hunt, Kelvin Pollard, Caroline Hogue, Sarah Wilson, Atul Bhaskar and James Talbot. Professor Cebon, Dr Hunt and Dr Talbot are now members of staff of the Engineering Department.

Professional Practice
Professor Newland has been a consultant on engineering design to many British and American companies, including APV, British Gas, British Rail, Fisons, GEC, ICI, James Walker & Company, John Brown, Land Rover, Leyland Vehicles, London Transport, Metro-Cammell, Rolls-Royce, Calspan Inc, formerly Cornell Aeronautical Laboratory (USA), United Aircraft Corporation (USA), US Department of Transportation, Dofasco (Canada), and CIGGT (Canadian Institute of Guided Ground Transport, a research institute of Queen's University at Kingston, Ontario). Projects included design of the bogies for the UAC Turbotrain and the design of rubber foundation pads to reduce vibration transmission into buildings. The Canadian Turbo covered the 335 miles between Toronto and Montreal in less than four hours - at the time the fastest inter-city passenger train in North America. One of the first isolated buildings was the RHM Centre at Vauxhall Bridge Road, in 1971, and another the Alexandra Road Estate designed by the architect Neave Brown in North London and completed in 1979. The latter was given grade II* listed status in 1993. In 1987/88, Professor Newland served as independent chairman of a joint BRB/Metro-Cammell Working Party to resolve a technical dispute about the ride quality of BR Mark IV passenger coaches. He has also been an expert witness on engineering design issues and contributed to many forensic studies including the Flixborough and Piper Alpha Inquiries, FKI Engineering and Metro-Cammell Arbitration 1992-93, Pilkington and PPG Industries Arbitration 1994-95, Sun Valley v. Pastspeed Ltd 1997-98, BASF explosion and fire 2005-07, and Commonwealth Smelting v.Guardian Royal Exchange (Lloyds Rep. 1984, 2, 608 and 1986, 1, 121). He was appointed Engineering Adviser to the London Millennium Bridge Trust in June 2000 and advised on remedial work on the 'wobbly bridge' (video). Recently he has worked on the design of centrifugal compressors, railway points, rolling-cone drill bits for the oil industry and flat-bed seats for aircraft. These include the analysis of software-related patents in a case (Smith International v. Halliburton) with important design implications - legal Judgement and Appeal and issues of aircraft seating design in another patent case (Virgin Atlantic Airways v. Air Canada and others) with this approved Judgement

He is married to Patricia, who is a priest in the Church of England, and they have two sons, Andrew and Richard, and eight grandchildren. Andrew is an engineer and chartered accountant who is CEO of the medical technology company Angle plc. Richard is a doctor who is Chief Executive of Carehome Selection Ltd and a director of other companies and part-time racehorse trainer. David has a special interest in nature photography and recent books on butterflies support the charity Butterfly Conservation.

  • Publications
  • A full list of publications with links to selected papers is given separately ....
  • Recent examples are listed below.
    1. Developments in the Design of Centrifugal Pendulum Vibration Absorbers, Int J Acoustics & Vibration, Vol. 25, 2, 1-13, 2020 (This is a full version of a conference paper with the same title).
    2. Creating Visual Images with Sound and Vibration (with L H Sharman), ICSV26, Proc. 26th Int. Congress on Sound and Vibration, Paper 847, Montreal, July 2019.
    3. Professor Sir William Rede Hawthorne, 1913-2011 (with E M Greitzer), Biographical Memoirs of Fellows of the Royal Society, Vol. 66, July 2019.
    4. My 1937 Morris Eight Tourer - Part 2, Morris Monthly, Vol. 58, 4, 36-37, 2018.
    5. Developments in the Design of Centrifugal Pendulum Vibration Absorbers, ICSV24, Proc. 24th Int. Congress on Sound and Vibration, London, July 2017.
    6. Vibration Performance of London's Millennium Footbridge (with C. Meinhardt, J. P. Talbot and D. Taylor), ICSV24, Proc. 24th Int. Congress on Sound and Vibration, London, July 2017.
    7. My 1937 Morris Eight Tourer, Morris Monthly, Vol. 56, 5, 31, 2016.
    8. Ecology and predation of Sesia apiformis (Clerck, 1759) (Lepidoptera: Sesiidae) (with T. J. Sawyer), Entomologist's Gazette, Vol. 67, 233-245, 2016.
    9. Professor Austyn Mair (1917-2008), Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2017.
    10. Sir William Hawthorne (1913-2011), Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2015.
    Last updated 20 April 2017