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Meredith Wooldridge Thring (1915-2006) was a British inventor, engineer, futurologist, professor and author. He was born 17 December 1915 in Melbourne, Australia, but moved to Britain when 4 years old. He died 15 September 2006 in Exmouth, Devon. In 1940 he married Margaret Hooley (died 1986), and they had two sons, and one daughter.
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Education and career
His school was Malvern College. He obtained a double first class degree in Mathematics and Physics at Trinity College, Cambridge in 1937. He then joined the British Coal Utilisation Research Association, becoming Head of its Combustion Research Laboratory. In 1946 he became Head of the newly-formed Physics Research group of the British Iron and Steel Research Association. In 1950 he moved to the University of Sheffield, becoming Professor and Head of the Department of Fuel Technology and Chemical Engineering in 1953. In 1964 he took up the position of Head of the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Queen Mary College of the University of London, where he remained until his retirement in 1981.
He was awarded the Student Medal of the Institute of Fuel in 1938, and the Hadfield Medal of the Iron and Steel Institute. From 1962 to 1963 he was President of the Institute of Fuel. In 1964 he was awarded a doctorate ScD degree from University of Cambridge. He was a Fellow of the Institute of Physics, the Institute of Fuel, the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, the Institution of Electrical Engineers and the Institution of Chemical Engineers. He was one of the first Fellows of the Royal Academy of Engineering.
Thring was a visionary who changed from science to engineering "because he wanted to make the world a better place" . In his 1977 book How to Invent, he wrote "One can envisage a society in which man lives in near-equilibrium with his environment, with the minimum use of raw materials by fuel economy, complete recycling of all metals, no throw-away goods, all consumer goods built to last many decades, and near zero pollution.". In the same book he describes domestic and gardening tools, Intermediate Technology for less developed countries and robots to take the place of people in dangerous situations. However, these were not just imagining. At the University of Sheffield and Queen Mary College he was actively involved in robotics, and after his retirement founded a charity called Power Aid to help developing countries . He studied combustion and other forms of energy generation, and was one of the founders of the International Flame Research Foundation in 1955. This knowledge of energy was shown in his 1974 book Energy and Humanity which called essentially for a more rational and sustainable approach, with control of pollution. He was also known as a teacher, and for his belief that engineers had an ethical obligation to improve life for all, but notably the underprivileged and disabled.
|This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Meredith_Thring". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.|