Ann Dowling

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Ann Dowling

Ann Dowling in Cambridge 2011.jpg
Dowling in 2011
Ann Patricia Dowling

(1952-07-15) 15 July 1952 (age 69)[1]
Alma materGirton College, Cambridge
Known forSilent Aircraft Initiative
Spouse(s)Thomas Paul Hynes[2]
Scientific career
ThesisAcoustic Sources in Motion (1978)
Doctoral advisorJohn Ffowcs Williams

Dame Ann Patricia Dowling OM DBE FRS FREng (born 15 July 1952) is a British mechanical engineer who researches combustion, acoustics and vibration, focusing on efficient, low-emission combustion and reduced road vehicle and aircraft noise. Dowling is a Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Professor of Mechanical Engineering,[4][5] and from 2009 to 2014 she was Head of the Department of Engineering at the University of Cambridge,[6] where she was the first female professor in 1993.[7][8][9][10][11][12] She was President of the Royal Academy of Engineering from 2014–2019, the Academy's first female president.[5]


Dowling was educated at Ursuline Convent School, Westgate, Kent[2] and the University of Cambridge (as a member of Girton College), where after studying mathematics at undergraduate level, and following a summer job at the Royal Aircraft Establishment, she was awarded a PhD degree in 1978.[13] Dowling's doctorate was in aeroacoustics, specifically on the Concorde noise problem.[14]


Dowling's research career has been at University of Cambridge starting as a research fellow in 1977[1] but she has held visiting posts at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Jerome C Hunsaker Visiting Professor, 1999) and at the California Institute of Technology (Moore Distinguished Scholar 2001).[1] Dowling is one of four main panel chairs for the Research Excellence Framework.[15]

On 3 February 2012, the oil company BP announced that Dowling was to become a non-executive director with immediate effect.[16] She has been a non-executive board member at BIS since February 2014.[17]

Awards and honours[edit]

Dowling was elected a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering (FREng) in 1996 and a Fellow of the Royal Society in 2003. Her FRS nomination reads:

Ann Dowling is a leading authority on developments that are enabling the control of unstable combustion systems in both aeronautics and power generation. She was the first to understand the mechanics of the jet engine instability known as reheat buzz. The two underlying themes of [Dowling's] work are (1) the interaction of sound with unsteady flow, and (2) the control of aeroacoustic instabilities. Her publications range from problem-defining fundamental papers to descriptions of the technology behind successful practical applications. Her research and academic leadership are admired internationally and she is a strong research leader.[18]


Dowling was elected an international member of the National Academy of Engineering in 2008 for advances in acoustics and unsteady flow, and for leadership in collaborative research between industry and universities.[19]

In February 2013 Dowling was listed as one of the 100 most powerful women in the United Kingdom by Woman's Hour on BBC Radio 4.[20] and was the subject of an episode of The Life Scientific in 2012.[21]

Dowling is a Patron of the Women's Engineering Society (WES).[22]

In January 2014 Dowling was nominated for election as President of the Royal Academy of Engineering. She took up the position in September 2014,[23][24][25] and in that role chaired a 2015 review (the 'Dowling Review') of business–university research collaboration,[26] published in July 2015.[27]

She was appointed a CBE in 2002 and promoted to DBE in 2007. In 2016 she was appointed to the Order of Merit.[28][29]

The James Watt International Gold Medal was awarded to her in 2016 by the Institution of Mechanical Engineers for her work associated with efficient, low emission combustion; and understanding, modelling and reducing the noise from cars, helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft .[30]

In November 2017, Dowling was elected to the Chinese Academy of Engineering alongside 18 foreign individuals including Bill Gates and L. Rafael Reif.[31]

In 2019 she received the Royal Medal.[32]


  1. ^ a b c Debrett's People of Today Archived 4 July 2013 at the Wayback Machine Prof Dame Ann Dowling
  2. ^ a b "DOWLING, Prof. Dame Ann Patricia, (Dame Ann Hynes)". Who's Who 2014, A & C Black, an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing plc, 2014; online edn, Oxford University Press.(subscription required)
  3. ^ "Dame Ann Dowling". The Life Scientific. 28 August 2012. BBC Radio 4. Retrieved 18 January 2014.
  4. ^ Notice Special No 1, Monday 2 October 2017 - Cambridge University reporter
  5. ^ a b "The President - Royal Academy of Engineering".
  6. ^ "Professor Dame Ann Dowling, OM DBE FRS FREng — CUED Division A". University of Cambridge Department of Engineering.
  7. ^ Archived 30 May 2011 at the Wayback Machine Women of Outstanding Achievement:Professor Dame Ann Dowling
  8. ^ Dowling, A. P. (1997). "Nonlinear self-excited oscillations of a ducted flame". Journal of Fluid Mechanics. 346 (1): 271–290. Bibcode:1997JFM...346..271D. doi:10.1017/S0022112097006484.
  9. ^ Dowling, A. P. (1999). "A kinematic model of a ducted flame". Journal of Fluid Mechanics. 394 (1): 51–72. Bibcode:1999JFM...394...51D. doi:10.1017/S0022112099005686.
  10. ^ Dowling, A. P.; Stow, S. R. (2003). "Acoustic Analysis of Gas Turbine Combustors". Journal of Propulsion and Power. 19 (5): 751. doi:10.2514/2.6192.
  11. ^ Dowling, Anne (1983). Sound and Sources of Sound. Ellis Horwood. ISBN 0853125279.
  12. ^ Ann Dowling's publications indexed by the Scopus bibliographic database. (subscription required)
  13. ^ Dowling, Ann Patricia (1978). Picoustic Sources in Motion (PhD thesis). University of Cambridge.
  14. ^ "Interview with Professor Dame Ann Dowling". Archived from the original on 18 March 2015. Retrieved 4 March 2015.
  15. ^ HEFCE announcement of panel chairs accessed 16 July 2010
  16. ^ BP Board Changes Archived 20 February 2012 at the Wayback Machine 3 February 2012
  17. ^ "Non-executive board member Professor Dame Ann Dowling". Retrieved 4 March 2015.
  18. ^ "EC/2003/12: Dowling, Ann Patricia. Library and Archive Catalogue". London: The Royal Society. Archived from the original on 11 February 2014.
  19. ^ "Dame Ann P. Dowling". Retrieved 27 May 2021.
  20. ^ "Woman's Hour - The Power List 2013 - BBC Radio 4".
  21. ^ "BBC Radio 4 – The Life Scientific". Retrieved 19 January 2016.
  22. ^ "Patrons: Women's Engineering Society". Retrieved 19 January 2016.
  23. ^ "Royal Academy of Engineering Council nominates its first female President". Archived from the original on 15 July 2014. Retrieved 23 June 2014.
  24. ^ "Royal Academy of Engineering selects first female president". Archived from the original on 13 July 2014. Retrieved 23 June 2014.
  25. ^ "Royal Academy of Engineering celebrates its first female President". Retrieved 16 September 2014.
  26. ^ The Dowling Review of business university research collaborations launches call for evidence, Royal Academy of Engineering, 23 January 2014. Accessed: 2 September 2015.
  27. ^ Business-university research collaborations: Dowling review final report, BIS, 2 July 2015. Accessed: 2 September 2015.
  28. ^ "No. 61470". The London Gazette. 13 January 2016. p. 546.
  29. ^ University of Cambridge: Cambridge academics honoured over the New Year (accessed 19 January 2016)
  30. ^ "JAMES WATT INTERNATIONAL GOLD MEDAL: ANN DOWLING". Institution of Mechanical Engineers. Institution of Mechanical Engineers. 19 August 2018.
  31. ^ Xiang, Bo (27 November 2017). "Bill Gates elected to Chinese Academy of Engineering". Xinhua. Retrieved 29 November 2017.
  32. ^ Royal Medal 2019

External links[edit]

Professional and academic associations
Preceded by President of the Royal Academy of Engineering
September 2014–
Succeeded by