The College is deeply saddened to announce the death of our Emeritus Fellow Dr Len Squire.
When he finished school, Len was called up for National Service and was selected for the Army Educational Corps, where he found himself providing maths training to senior NCOs. He also came into contact with research being done in engineering and decided that he wanted to work with aircraft. However, applied maths was required for the honours degree course at Bristol – so Len set about teaching himself. After graduating in 1952 he spent two years as a research student and, when the funding ended, applied for a job at the Royal Aircraft Establishment in Bedford where his work on flow visualisation enabled him to convert his MSc thesis to a PhD, published in the esteemed Journal of Fluid Mechanics. Aircraft research was at an exciting stage in the 1950s when the first supersonic planes were being designed, and Len and his colleagues at the RAE developed a trans-sonic wind tunnel to test the new models of many planes, including the one which eventually became known as Concorde.
Len then decided to pursue an academic career, first at Queen’s University Belfast and then here at Cambridge from 1963 where he ultimately rose to become Reader in Aeronautical Engineering. He became a Fellow at Churchill in 1968, acting as DoS in Engineering and supervisor in Maths and Mechanical Engineering.
In addition to teaching and research, Len took part in many other College activities, and was a strong supporter of the Chapel. He also participated in some of the more practical aspects of College life. On Sunday 24 June 2018, Len celebrated his 90th birthday with a lunch held in the Fellows’ Dining Room. During this event, many memories were shared including an evening in January 1974 when one of the high-level Dining Hall windows spectacularly blew in, minutes before students arrived for evening Hall. Len and Will Hawthorne, the then Master, checked the wind speed pressure design for the proposed replacement windows, and when the architects of the Møller Institute were trying to work out how to prevent a possible similar disaster with a glass door, Len’s aerodynamic expertise was once again called upon and, once again, provided the solution.
It was at this birthday lunch where Len remarked that attending College events and engaging today’s generation of very young, very bright undergraduates in discussion is a far better antidote to ageing than doing the crossword or Sudoku.
Len will be greatly missed by the College, and our thoughts are with his family at this difficult time.