David Gordon Wilson

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David Gordon Wilson outside his home workshop, 2005

David Gordon Wilson (born 1928) is emeritus professor of engineering at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).[1]

Born in Warwickshire, England, Wilson went to the US on a post-doctoral fellowship in 1955. He returned to Britain in 1957 to work in the gas-turbine industry. He taught engineering in Nigeria from 1958 - 60. He started a branch of a US company in London and in 1961 was moved to the US. In 1966 he joined the MIT faculty and taught engineering design and pursued a long-standing interest into human-powered transport, coauthoring Bicycling Science. He is credited, along with Chester Kyle, with starting the modern recumbent bicycle movement in the USA.

In 1980, Wilson and Richard Forrestall developed a recumbent bicycle, the Avatar 2000. In 1982, Tim Gartside (Australia) rode a fully faired version as the Avatar Bluebell (UK) in a US event to a world record of 51.9 mph for 200 metres with a flying start.[2]

Wilson also invented the carbon tax in 1973.[3]

Wilson is the co-founder of Wilson TurboPower, was founded in 2001 to commercialize two energy technologies developed at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).[4]

Wilson invented of the 'Wilson Turbogenerator'. An electrical efficiency of greater than 50% is claimed for his design. A prototype 300 kW microturbine was under development in 2008 when work was terminated and Wilson was removed from the board and, later, from his company[citation needed].

Wilson lives in Winchester, Massachusetts with his wife, Ellen.

Notable publications[edit]

  • Wilson, David Gordon; Whitt, Frank Rowland; et al. (April 2004). Bicycling Science (3rd paperback ed.). Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press. ISBN 978-0-262-73154-6.
  • Wilson, David Gordon; Korakianitis, Theodosios (January 1998). The Design of High-Efficiency Turbomachinery and Gas Turbines (2nd paperback ed.). Prentice Hall. ISBN 978-0-13-312000-4.
  • Beck, Douglas; Wilson, David Gordon (January 1996). Gas-Turbine Regenerators (hardcover ed.). Springer. ISBN 978-0-412-98331-3.


  1. ^ "MIT MechE - David Gordon Wilson". Retrieved 5 September 2010.
  2. ^ Wilson; Forrestall; Henden (1984). "Evolution of Recumbent Bicycles and the Design of the Avatar Bluebell". SAE International Congress and Exposition Technical Paper 840021. Retrieved 22 January 2017.
  3. ^ Berdik, Chris (10 August 2014). "The unsung inventor of the carbon tax". The Boston Globe. Retrieved 11 August 2014.
  4. ^ "Wilson TurboPower, Inc. (copy @ Wayback Machine)". Retrieved 18 September 2014.

External links[edit]