Swansea University has awarded an honorary degree to Emeritus Professor Roland Wynne Lewis.

Professor Lewis was presented with the award today (18 December 2019) at the degree ceremony for the College of Engineering.

Professor Lewis attended Swansea University as an undergraduate and postgraduate student. After graduation, he worked for Esso Petroleum in Calgary, Houston and Los Angeles before moving back to Swansea University in 1969. During his academic career in Swansea, he closely collaborated with Professor O C Zienkiewicz, one of the founding fathers of the finite element method. 

Professor Lewis’ research contributions to geomechanics, heat transfer and fluid flow are internationally well known. His industrial achievements include contributing to the design and structural integrity of the Channel Tunnel construction. He has also acted as a consultant to British foundries in optimising the design of Formula 1 engines.

The reputation built up by Professor Lewis in the area of computational methods has attracted a large number of students and researchers to Swansea, and he supervised more than 65 PhD students during his career. 

Currently, Professor Lewis is an Emeritus Professor in Engineering and acts as a mentor for many academic staff.

Professor Lewis has received numerous honours, including those from the Fellowships of the Royal Academy of Engineering, the Institution of Civil Engineers and the Learned Society of Wales. He has held several prestigious honorary and visiting professorships at various higher education institutions including the Universities of Cape Town, Cornell, Pretoria, IIT Madras, Dalian and Singapore.

On receiving his award, Professor Lewis said: “I returned to what was then the University College of Swansea in 1970 after spending five years in the North American petroleum industry. As a young lecturer, I was fortunate to enter a thriving Civil Engineering Department under the exceptional leadership of Professor O C Zienkiewicz. The pre-eminence of the department ensured a thriving environment for Finite Element research which attracted many senior academics from all parts of the globe. Also, there was an influx of home and international research students wishing to study in the department. Many of these eventually became world leaders in their field. This created an outstanding research environment which placed Swansea on the global map. I am grateful to all my collaborators, staff and students alike, without whom my life would have been much less fruitful and interesting.”