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), David worked for the
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. During this time, he was a consultant on railway suspension design to
two American companies, United Aircraft Corporation (UAC history
and wikipedia article) and
Calspan Inc. and 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 will be held in London in July 2017. 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 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.
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.
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). In 1987/88 he 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 -
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
A full list of publications with links to selected papers is given separately ....
Some examples are listed below.
- Wavelet Analysis of Vibration Signals, Handbook of Noise and Vibration Control, Ch. 49, 579-591, Wiley, New York, 2007.
- Random Vibration, Handbook of Noise and Vibration Control, Ch. 13, 205-211, Wiley, New York 2007.
- Mechanical Vibration Analysis and Computation, unabridged re-publication of the 1989
edition by Dover, New York, 2006.
- An Introduction to Random Vibrations, Spectral and Wavelet Analysis, unabridged re-publication of
the 3rd (1993) edition by Dover, New York, 2005.
- Pedestrian excitation of bridges, Proc. Institution of Mechanical Engineers, Vol.
218, Part C: J. Mechanical Engineering Science, 477-492, 2004,
- Could the World Trade Center have been modified to prevent its collapse? (with D. Cebon), J.
Engineering Mechanics, Trans. ASCE, 128, 7, 795-800, July 2002. Available at http://ojps.aip.org/emo/.
- Vibration of the London Millennium Footbridge: Cause and Cure, Int. J. of Acoustics and Vibration,
8, 1, 9-14, 2003. Also in Proc. 9th Int. Congress on Sound and Vibration, Orlando, Florida,
USA, July 2002, Part 1, Paper 519 and Part 2, Paper 614 (on CD-ROM).