23 Mar 05
Death of Dr William Brown
The eminent British engineer Dr William Brown, long-span bridge expert and pioneer of aerial cable-spinning and the aerodynamic box girder deck, has died. He passed away on 16 March after an illness.
Dr Brown was advisor to engineering companies and consultants worldwide. He had 40 years' experience in the design and construction of very long span bridges and was the lead designer for the record-breaking Messina Bridge which is planned to start construction this year.
During his career he worked on many of the world's most notable bridges including the Forth, Severn and Humber in the UK and both of the major suspension bridges over the Bosporus in Turkey.
Dr Brown established the consulting engineering practice of Brown Beech & Associates in 1987, after spending almost 30 years working for consultant Freeman Fox & Partners, and subsequently being appointed engineer and project director for construction of the 2nd Bosporus Bridge in Turkey.
His list of qualifications and awards was extensive - including the Order of the British Empire, in recognition for his services to the country. He was author of many published papers and the holder of patents for innovations in long span bridges. These patents included methods of aerial spinning of cable wires and the design of suspended decks to overcome problems of instability under wind loading. He also developed a new cable configuration for suspension bridges to increase stiffness. His expertise extended to cranes, radio telescopes and other special structures as well as bridges. He devised the concept of single box section jibs and crane girders, which was subsequently adopted universally.
Dr Brown was a strong advocate of the need to base new national standards and codes of practice on the results of past experience and properly conducted research. He was openly critical of codes developed from academic hypotheses unsupported by experience.
A full obituary will be published in the next issue of Bridge design & engineering