Biography of William Duncan
William Jolly Duncan (1894-1960) was Mechan Professor of Aeronautics and Fluid Mechanics at the University from 1950 to 1961.
Duncan graduated in Engineering from University College, London and, after serving in the RASC during the First World War, he worked for his father's marine engineering business, Ross & Duncan, in Govan from 1919 to 1926. He joined the National Physical Laboratory's Aerodynamics Department and in 1934 he was invited to become the first head of a department of Aerodynamics at University College, Hull, where he was appointed Wakefield Professor in 1938. He worked at the Royal Aircraft Establishment at Farnborough during the Second World War and in 1945 was appointed Professor of Aerodynamics at the College of Aeronatics at Cranfield, where he remained until his appointment to the University Chair.
An international authority on aircraft design and the mechanics of fluids, Duncan was Assessor at the Comet Accident Inquiries in 1954. He was made a CBE in 1953.