Obituary Alun Bowen

Alun Bowen, 1942 - 1996

Alun Wynn Lloyd Bowen was born on 26 November 1942. He received his higher education at the Universities of Nottingham and Manchester, where he was awarded his PhD in 1968. He joined what was then known as the Royal Aircraft Establishment, Farnborough in 1967. He worked in a number of sections there and became head of the Metal Physics and Micro-structural Analysis Section in 1979. He was a Visiting Professor at Strathclyde.

At first, Alun's work at RAE was concerned with investigating and understanding the properties of titanium and, later, of aluminium alloys. This led to his interest in preferred orientations in the crystal grains that compose a metal object. He developed further his understanding of the origin and influence of crystallographic textures on the engineering properties of alloys and manufactured components. An essential adjunct of this work was the development of methods of texture measurement, including the application of quantitative measurements.

His work was successful to the point where he was acclaimed internationally as one of the foremost experts in the field. His outstanding contribution was the pioneering of many applications of x-ray diffraction techniques to solving real engineering problems, both with newer alloys and those already in service. He worked continuously on bridging the gap between theoretical advances and cost effective application of textural analysis to industrial developments. More recently, he worked with many of his industrial peers in introducing the technique of residual stress analysis as a vital tool for understanding manufacturing results and component service performance.

His great interest in the practical applications of all these techniques led to extensive contacts with industrial crystallographers and to his association with the Industrial Group of the BCA. He served on the IG Committee for eight years, from 1984 to 1992, the last three years as Group Chairman and served as an elected member of the Council of the BCA. He was active in arranging IG functions as well as organising conferences for the Institute of Materials and worked hard on some of its committees.

Known as "Mr Texture" to industry and academia, he had a modest and unassuming manner and was noted for his unfailing courtesy, patience and the clarity with which he explained complex concepts. Away from work, Alun enjoyed listening to music on a serious high-fidelity set-up. He was a fluent French speaker and family holidays in France were a great joy to him. The last of Alun's many lectures was delivered - with his usual polish - at the BCA Spring Meeting in Cambridge in April 1996. Shortly afterwards, he was readmitted to hospital where he died on 7 May 1996. We extend our condolences to Chris and their daughter Clare. We are all impoverished by his passing.

Kathy Clay and Eric Kelly

Page last updated 28 Oct 1996
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