Obituary – EUR ING Professor Bob Fenn CEng FIMMM

Fellows' Lounge
2 Aug 2016

EUR ING Professor Robert (Bob) Fenn DSc PhD CEng FIMMM FWeldI 1947–2016

It is with deep regret that I report the sad and untimely death of my friend, colleague and mentor Bob Fenn, who passed away on 5 May 2016, his wife Jean’s birthday, at his second home in Stellenbosch, South Africa. 

Born 14 June 1947, Bob contributed greatly to the advance of metallurgy and welding technology. His career began in 1963 as a metallurgical apprentice at Samuel Osborn, Sheffield, UK, eventually becoming Quality Control Manager and Quality Assurance Manager. In 1977, Bob completed a CEGB Research Fellowship at Aston University, Birmingham, gaining his PhD and beginning his career as a lecturer at Brunel University London, where he was awarded his DSc in 2006 based on his substantial research achievements. At Brunel, he led the Welding Research Group and helped around 20 students attain PhDs and 15 masters degrees. From 1982–1987 he established and ran the Welding and Adhesive Bonding MSc course at Brunel, and from 2005–2008 was External Supervisor to an experiential PhD candidate at Bolton University, UK. 

Bob’s other activities included – 1978–1980 Committee member and 1988–1990 Chairman of the North London Branch of TWI, 1978–1980 and 1984–1990 Member of TWI Education & Training Committee, and 1990–1998 Member TWI Membership & Registration Committee. Unfortunately, due to the onset of MS, his activities were curtailed somewhat, but he still carried out PRI Interviews for IOM3 and TWI.

As well as his activities in the UK, Bob was well known internationally. Between 1980–1990, he was a welding course teacher at Witwatersrand University, University of Cape Town and the University of Natal, South Africa.

In 1981, 1982 and 1984, Bob held the role of Welding and NDT course lecturer at CAST Jamaica, and from 1983–1997 was a visiting lecturer to MIT, John Hopkins, Ohio State and Wayne State Universities, USA. In 1988, Bob was a visiting lecturer at IIT Delhi, India, and visiting research examiner to Hong Kong Polytechnic. From 1990–1998, he was a member of the Journal Panel (Joining of Materials) Tekniska Hogskola, Denmark. He was appointed Professor of Experiential Education at the University of Technology, Jamaica, in 2009.

Bob has two international patents and has published more than 100 technical papers. He invented automatic welding devices that guaranteed consistent and reliable weld penetration over a variety of thicknesses and fusion welding processes. He also pioneered other approaches to NDT that are now used universally.

EUR ING David Rowe CEng CSci FIMMM