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People and Places


Virtually all the work in the Science and Engineering Section, and in the Economics and Industry Section has been done with the support and collaboration of other people.  Their effort is acknowledged below and in more detail as joint authors of the published and private work listed in the sections themselves.

This has come about because after about two and a half years after joining ICI’s Bozedown Laboratory from Cambridge as a Technical Officer in 1964, when Graham Neilson became my Laboratory Assistant, I became responsible for a section of 6-9 other Technical Officers (graduates and PhD’s) each of whom had a project with supporting technical staff.  After a further three years, I was appointed head of the Process Technology Group of about 25 Technical Officers and 30 supporting staff, together with direct access to a substantial workshop and the Company’s KDF9 digital computer at Wilton on Teesside (North Yorkshire).  I reformed the Group into five project teams with about five Technical Officers each, covering the following fields: Gas-solid catalytic reactors (Dr M L Brisk, later Professor of Process Control & Dean of Engineering, RMIT); Free Radical computation kinetics (Dr P Dyer); Gas-liquid reactors (Dr C Ramshaw, later Professor of Chemical Engineering, University of Newcastle); Two-phase & polymer reaction flows (M J Shires, later Senior Engineer with Foster–Wheeler); Gas-phase reactors (self).  The scope and scale of the five teams made the Process Technology Group (PTG) the largest chemical technology research group in Imperial Chemical Industries (ICI), which in the 1960s was the largest chemical company by turnover in the world, and still in the first five two decades later.

Each of these teams was aimed at reactor design and process improvement on the full-scale through the basic philosophy of PTG: separate out the scale-dependent from the scale–invariant factors.

Scale-dependent factors included fluid flow, mixing and heat transfer; scale-invariant factors included chemical kinetic constants, thermal and mass diffusion constants, droplet formation kinetics.  The scale-dependent factors themselves included scale invariants such as viscosity and thermal conductivities.  Separating these factors, measuring them on the lab scale, then combining them into mathematical models, which could then reliably be applied to the factory scale, was the major achievement of PTG, to which all members contributed.

The theory of doing this with a greatly extended range of process is the basis of the Science of Process Manufacture (qv) and the lecture course given by the writer for 10 years in UMIST to the end of 2005.  These can be found in “University Lecture Courses” as part of the UMIST Polymer & Mechanical Engineering (1979-99) section.

C A J Young

Christopher (“A J”) Young, an Oxford Physicist by training, was recruited by Sir Ewart Smith FRS, then ICI Engineering Director, from the Sudan Meteorological Service in 1946 and was asked to set up a small Instruments Section at the Frythe Laboratories in Hertfordshire.  In 1956, the Control and Instruments Section as it had become was moved to Bozedown House, Oxfordshire, under “A J” as Group Manager, reporting directly to the ICI Main Board Director.  There were 3 Section Managers: Ivor Gray, Douglas Whiting and Ray (R L) Day.