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John Dewar Cormack

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Professor John Dewar Cormack (1870-1935), Regius professor of Civil Engineering at Glasgow University

1935 Obituary [1]

Professor JOHN DE WAR CORMACK, C.M.G., C.B.E. , D.Sc., will be remembered for his work as Regius Professor of Civil Engineering and Mechanics at the University of Glasgow.

He was born in 1870, the second son of Alexander Cormack, and was educated at Dumbarton Burgh Academy. In 1886 he entered the University of Glasgow, where he graduated with highest honours. He received most of his practical training in the laboratories of Lord Kelvin, Hon. M.I.Mech.E., and took a special course in engineering under Professor A. Barr, M.I.Mech.E.

In 1892 he went to Leeds, as assistant lecturer in technical electricity at the Yorkshire College; later he became lecturer in that subject, and subsequently gave University extension lectures on mechanics.

In 1896 he returned to Glasgow as lecturer in electrical engineering under Professor Barr. He took part in the designing of the James Watt Laboratory and was also engaged on consulting work as assistant to Lord Kelvin and Professor Barr.

In 1901, shortly after his work during that year as secretary to the International Engineering Congress, he was appointed professor of mechanical engineering at University College, London, where, following the constitution of the faculty of engineering in 1908, he became first dean.

He succeeded Professor Barr at Glasgow in 1913, and occupied the chair of civil engineering and mechanics until his death, which occurred on 30th November, 1935.

During the War, Professor Cormack served as chief contracts officer of military aeronautics. In 1917 he was appointed assistant director of aircraft supply and equipment, subsequently becoming assistant controller of the aeronautical supply department. For his services he was awarded the C.M.G. in 1917 and the O.B.E. in 1919. He held the rank of honorary brigadier-general and also honorary group commander in the Royal Air Force. In addition he was made a Chevalier of the Legion of Honour.

He was elected a Member of the Institution in 1902 and was also a Member of the Institution of Electrical Engineers. During the session 1933-4 he was president of the Institution of Engineers and Shipbuilders in Scotland.

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