Samuel Lees (1885-1940)
1937 Bio Note 
LEES, Samuel, M.Sc., M.A. (Cantab.)M.I.Mech.E., Chance Chair of Mechanical Engineering, Birmingham University, since 1931. Mr. Lees, who was Whitworth Scholar in 1906, proceeded from the College of Technology, Manchester, to St. John's College, Cambridge, where he was elected a Fellow of the College in 1912.
After doing research work under the late Professor Hopkinson he was appointed Reader in Applied Thermodynamics at Manchester, and, during the war, served as Engineer-Lieutenant-Commander in the Royal Navy. He also spent some time with the Royal Air Force at Farnborough.
From 1919-1929 he was Hopkinson Lecturer in Thermodynamics at Cambridge and Director of Engineering Studies at St. John's College, Cambridge, from 1924-29.
From 1929-1931 he held a position as consulting engineer with Silica Gel, Ltd., and spent some time abroad in connection with engineering developments. Address: 63, School Road, Moseley.
1939/40 Obituary 
Whilst a student at the Manchester School of Technology he gained a Whitworth Exhibition, and subsequently a Whitworth Scholarship.
He then went up to Cambridge and took his B.A., and later his M.A., and in 1912 he was elected a Fellow of St. John's College.
In 1913 he was appointed Reader in Applied Thermodynamics at Manchester University, and from 1915 to 1918 served in the Navy as an Engineer Officer.
After two years in this position he was appointed to the Chair of Mechanical Engineering at Birmingham University, where he entirely reorganized the research work.
He died on 27th January, 1940, at the age of 54.
He was elected a Member of the Institution of Automobile Engineers in 1934.
1940 Obituary 
Professor SAMUEL LEES, who died on 27th January 1940, was, for the major part of his career, attached to one or other of the great English Universities.
He was born at Salford in 1885 and served his apprenticeship with Messrs. Ferranti, Ltd., from 1902 to 1904, and with Messrs. C. Churchill and Company, Ltd., Manchester, from 1904 to 1906. During the latter period he had been studying at the Manchester School of Technology, and in 1905 he gained a Whitworth Exhibition. In the following year he obtained a Whitworth Scholarship, after which he entered St. John's College, Cambridge, and graduated in 1909. He continued at Cambridge as a research worker, and obtained his M.A. degree. He also gained the Rayleigh and John Winbolt prizes in 1911 and became a Hutchinson student, while in the following year he was elected a Fellow of St. John's College.
Towards the end of 1913 he was appointed chief lecturer in mechanical engineering at the School of Technology of the University of Manchester. In 1915 he joined the Royal Navy, first as an engineer lieutenant, but later he was promoted to be an engineer lieutenant commander, and until 1918 he was engaged mainly on research work at Portsmouth Dockyard and Farnborough. After the War he resumed his work at Manchester for a short time, as reader in applied thermodynamics, but in 1919 he returned to Cambridge as Hopkinson lecturer in thermodynamics at the engineering laboratory. He became director of engineering studies at St. John's College in 1924 and director of the heat engines laboratory. While at Cambridge he was responsible for the erection of the plant for the liquefaction of air in the Cavendish Laboratories.
A short break in his academic career occurred from 1929 to 1931, when he acted as consulting mechanical engineer to Silica Gel, Ltd. During this period he dealt with problems of refrigeration and air dehydration, and he spent some time at this company's works in the United States. In 1931 he was appointed to the chair in mechanical engineering in the University of Birmingham, a position which he occupied until his death. He reorganized the research work of the department and investigated practical and theoretical problems connected with internal combustion engines.
He was elected an Associate Member of the Institution in 1917 and was transferred to Membership in 1932.
Sources of Information
- 1937-8 Birmingham Year Book
- 1939/40 Institution of Automobile Engineers: Obituaries
- 1940 Institution of Mechanical Engineers: Obituaries