Regius Professor appointed at James Watt School of Engineering

Professor Margaret Lucas FRSE has been appointed as Regius Chair of Civil Engineering and Mechanics at the University of Glasgow’s James Watt School of Engineering.

The Regius Chair of Civil Engineering and Mechanics at the University of Glasgow was the first of its kind in the UK, founded in 1840 by Queen Victoria. The Regius Chair is reserved for outstanding academics of international repute. Each chair serves by royal appointment.

Professor Lucas is the eleventh engineer to hold the post since it was founded, and the first woman.

Professor Lucas joined the University of Glasgow in 1996. Her research is in the field of power ultrasonics, combining advances in vibration characterisation techniques, ultrasonic transducer and device innovations and understanding of the interactions of ultrasonic devices and the media they interact with. Her group’s work has had a profound effect on the power ultrasonics industry, demonstrating methodologies for achieving unsurpassed vibrational performance in ultrasonic devices.

Her research has resulted in ultrasonic technologies in applications including surgical devices, planetary drilling, food processing, forming of metals and soft solids, joining of similar and dissimilar materials, and water treatment. Her current focus is on pioneering research in miniaturising ultrasonic devices integrated with surgical robots for minimally invasive surgeries.

Professor Lucas said: "The Regius Chair of Civil Engineering and Mechanics has been held in different engineering disciplines and has been responsible for pioneering work in diverse areas of underpinning fundamental engineering science in thermodynamics, optics and structural mechanics.

"My research in ultrasonics brings a modern perspective to the Chair. It is highly interdisciplinary, with fundamental discoveries driving innovation, while maintaining the Chair’s history and important connection with advancing industrial practice. The Regius Chair is also a platform for inspiring future generations of engineers, with an emphasis for me on encouraging, supporting and mentoring more early career female engineering researchers.

"It is a huge honour to be appointed to the Regius Chair of Civil Engineering and Mechanics, especially as the first woman appointed to this Chair, and I will do my utmost to uphold its distinguished history of advancing the knowledge and practice of Engineering."

Previous Regius Chairs of Civil Engineering and Mechanics include Macquorn Rankine, the pioneering mechanical engineer who contributed to the fields of railway engineering, molecular physics and thermodynamics, and James Thomson, best known for his work on the improvement of water wheels, pumps and turbines. Professor René de Borst was the most recent Regius Chair, holding the position from 2012 to 2015.

Professor Sir Anton Muscatelli, Principal and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Glasgow, said: "I am delighted to announce the appointment of Professor Margaret Lucas FRSE, Professor of Ultrasonics, as the Regius Chair of Civil Engineering and Mechanics at the James Watt School of Engineering.

"Regius Chairs are rare honours, bestowed upon academics who have made a real and lasting contribution to their field of research. I’m delighted that Margaret will become our latest Regius Chair in recognition of her achievements and in anticipation of the impact she will continue to make in the future. On behalf of the entire University, I’d like to extend my warmest congratulations to Professor Lucas on her royal appointment."

Professor Dame Muffy Calder, head of the University’s College of Science & Engineering, added: "This is a tremendous, and very well-deserved, honour for Margaret. Professor Lucas has contributed a huge amount to teaching, research and leadership at the School during her years of service. I’m delighted for her, for the James Watt School of Engineering, and for the University as a whole."

Professor David Cumming, head of the James Watt School of Engineering, said: "I am delighted for Margaret to have been appointed to the Regius Chair of Civil Engineering and Mechanics at the University of Glasgow.

"Her appointment cements our reputation as a prestigious centre for engineering research. Margaret will give leadership to the School and inspire colleagues as we grow and develop in the years ahead."