17 Apr 2019
Professor Stan Stevens: 1933-2019
Professor Stan Stevens was a constant source of inspiration and enthusiasm within the Loughborough Engineering Faculty during his 33 years of service at the University.
Stan was born in Coventry, a few streets away from where Frank Whittle was born. This was a remarkable coincidence since Whittle’s invention of the gas-turbine would dominate Stan’s working life.
He began his engineering career in 1950 as an Aeronautical/ Automotive Engineering apprentice at Armstrong-Siddeley Engines in Coventry (which subsequently became part of Rolls-Royce), where he eventually became part of their future projects team.
In 1961, Stan became a Lecturer within the Department of Transport Technology at Loughborough. The knowledge and experience Stan had gained from working in the aerospace industry enabled him to have a significant influence on the Aero Engineering degree course. This included the development of unique Aerospace Propulsion and Design activities. He was a popular lecturer and quickly earnt a reputation amongst students as somebody ready to provide help when asked. Professor Stevens was promoted to Senior Lecturer in 1970, a Reader in 1976, Professor in 1987 and Head of Department from 1990 until his retirement in 1994.
On the research side Stan created, from scratch, an applied research group to address some of the challenges facing the aircraft gas turbine industry. He initially began by enrolling as an external researcher at Nottingham University where he obtained an MSc studying the aerodynamic diffuser flows found within aircraft engines. He was subsequently awarded the departments first Science Research Council Grant which led to the award of his PhD in 1970. Visits from the UK’s leading jet engine research establishment led to work with Rolls-Royce, whilst a British Council grant in 1971 enabled him to undertake a sabbatical at the Aerodynamics Institute in Gottingen. This was the institute founded by Professor Ludwig Prandtl and where he worked with Dr Rotta (one of the ‘fathers’ of turbulence modelling).
Stan went on to develop a number of large scale and internationally-recognised aerodynamic research facilities. In 1991 his research group was approached by Rolls-Royce and became a University Technology Centres (UTC) - the third UTC to be launched with Stan as its first director specialising in Combustion System Aerodynamics. The Centre has flourished ever since.
In 2008 the Stan Stevens Unsteady Fluid Mechanics Laboratory was opened and the group is currently responsible for the new National Centre for Combustion and Aerothermal Technology (NCCAT) development. Before his passing, Stan was able to visit the new facilities in November 2018.
He was also a long-term supporter of the Loughborough Branch of the Royal Aeronautical Society, which was formed in the mid-1960s. He actively planned lecture programmes and strongly encouraged students to attend these.
Stan had a passion for tennis and led negotiations between the Lawn Tennis Association and Loughborough University to create the Dan Maskell Loughborough Tennis Centre.
Professor Steven leaves behind many friends and colleagues and will be sadly missed.