Fluid expert sought for Dyson funded chair

Sir James Dyson looks through a bladeless fan
Image caption The University of Cambridge professorship will look into ways to make fans more efficient.

Scientists interested in fluid mechanics are being sought for a Cambridge engineering professorship.

£1.4m has been put up by James Dyson, the bagless-cleaner inventor, to pay for the post over a 10 year period.

The appointed professor will be charged with investigating ways to boost the efficiency of any fan, be it in a cleaner, computer or car dashboard.

However, said Sir James, there would be no pressure on the successful candidate to produce results.

"What we need is a very good piece of lateral thinking or unusual discovery to make a real breakthrough," Sir James told the BBC.

"We are willing to accept that something might not come out of it."

He added that many Dyson products would benefit from an improved understanding of how air moves, the sources of turbulence and ways to cut noise.

"It's the kind of research we think universities should be doing," said Sir James.

"Someone should be given a free rein and an open-ended brief to come with something that's not in anyone's sights at the moment."


Candidates were already being interviewed and an appointment would be made as soon as possible, he said.

Alongside the theoretical work, Sir James said Dyson also funded research at the University of Cambridge into topics, such as carbon nanotubes, that would have a direct impact on some of its products.

"Carbon nanotubes could be a replacement for copper as they are conductive, very strong and incredibly thin," he said.

"We believe there are other applications that will come out of that."

The company also announced plans to double the research, design and development team at its Malmesbury base to 700.

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