Tuesday, 13 February 2018

Prigogine Award 2018

The Prigogine Gold Medal 2018 Award Ceremony will take place at the University of Siena, Italy on Tuesday 4th September 2018, on the occasion of the 10th International Conference on Sustainable Development and Planning.
The Prigogine Medal was established in 2004 by the University of Siena and the Wessex Institute of Technology to honour the memory of Professor Ilya Prigogine, Nobel Prize Winner for Chemistry.


Stuart Kauffman
Professor Stuart Kauffman is an American medical doctor, theoretical biologist, and complex systems researcher who studies the origin of life on Earth. He was a professor at the Universities of Chicago, Pennsylvania and Calgary. He is currently Emeritus Professor of Biochemistry at the University of Pennsylvania and affiliate faculty at the Institute for Systems Biology. He has a number of awards including a MacArthur Fellowship and a Wiener Medal.
He is best known for arguing that the complexity of biological systems and organisms might result as much from self-organisation and far-from-equilibrium dynamics as from Darwinian natural selection as discussed in his book Origins of Order (1993). In 1967 and 1969 Kauffman used random boolean networks to investigate generic selforganising properties of gene regulatory networks. Using these models, he proposed that cell types are dynamical attractors in gene regulatory networks and that cell differentiation can be understood as transitions between attractors. Recent evidence suggests that cell types in humans and other organisms are attractors.
In 1971 he suggested that a zygote may not be able to access all the cell type attractors in its gene regulatory network during development and that some of the developmentally inaccessible cell types might be cancer cell types. This suggested the possibility of “cancer differentiation therapy”. He also proposed the self-organised emergence of collectively autocatalytic sets of polymers, specifically peptides, for the origin of molecular reproduction, which have found experimental support.

Ilya Prigogine was born in Moscow in 1917, and obtained his undergraduate and graduate education in chemistry at the Free University in Brussels. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for his contribution to non-equilibrium thermodynamics, particularly the theory of dissipative structures. The main theme of his scientific work was the role of time in the physical sciences and biology. He contributed significantly to the understanding of irreversible processes, particularly in systems far from equilibrium. The results of his work have had profound consequences for understanding biological and ecological systems.
Prigogine’s ideas established the basis for ecological systems research. The Prigogine Medal to honour his memory is awarded annually to a leading scientist in the field of ecological systems. All recipients have been deeply influenced by the work of Prigogine.
Previous Prigogine Laureates were:
2004 Sven Jorgensen, Denmark
2005 Enzo Tiezzi, Italy
2006 Bernard Patten, USA
2007 Robert Ulanowicz, USA
2008 Ioannis Antoniou, Greece
2009 Emilio del Giudice, Italy
2010 Felix Müller, Germany
2011 Larissa Brizhik, Ukraine
2012 Gerald Pollack, USA
2011 Larissa Brizhik, Ukraine
2013 Vladimir Voeikov, Russia
2014 Mae-wan Ho, UK
2015 Bai-Lian Larry Li, USA
2016 Brian Fath, USA
2017 João Carlos Marques, Portugal
The 2018 Medal will be awarded to Professor Stuart Kauffman, Emeritus Professor of Biochemistry at the University of Pennsylvania and affiliate faculty at the Institute for Systems Biology.

“A World Beyond Physics:
The Emergence and Evolution of Life”

to be delivered by Professor Stuart Kauffman at the University of Siena, Italy.

For further information about the Prigogine Awards, please contact Professor Carlos Brebbia at the Wessex Institute of Technology.
Professor Carlos Brebbia
Wessex Institute of Technology
Ashurst Lodge, Ashurst
SO40 7AA, UK
Tel: +44 (0) 238 029 3223
Fax: +44 (0) 238 029 2853
Email: carlos@wessex.ac.uk
See the following Web pages for details of recent Prigogine Awards:

Tuesday, 22 August 2017

WIT Summer Barbeque 2017

The traditional Wessex Institute of Technology (WIT) BBQ was held over the weekend in the grounds of the Ashurst Lodge Campus, with the participation of many colleagues and members of staff, as well as suppliers and friends of WIT.

WIT BBQ 2017
The weather – as usual – was exceptionally good, with blue, sunny skies and very warm. The main course was the usual, excellent roasted Hampshire lamb with a variety of salads and side dishes.

The occasion brought together colleagues from many different parts of the world, including the USA and several countries in Europe. Special guests were there, including the New Forest MPs, Mr Christopher Chope, who helped WIT in its initial stages, and Dr Julian Lewis, who has been a most active supporter of the Institute.

Among the attendees were the first two West Point Cadets who are visiting WIT to complete their final year research projects.
West Point Cadets

DC Saxes at the WIT BBQ 2017
Music was provided by the saxophonist duo, DC Saxes, who played a series of delightful pieces, most appropriate for the event, creating just the right atmosphere for a very enjoyable afternoon summer party. They are highly regarded and in great demand.

The annual BBQ is always a very happy occasion and a great way for WIT to express its gratitude to its many collaborators around the world.

Monday, 24 July 2017

ASCE UK Meeting 2017

A meeting of the ASCE/UK Group took place at the Wessex Institute to keep the UK members abreast of new developments in the Society. WIT hosts the ASCE/UK Group and organises events for the members to attend.

This is however the first time that the President of Region 10 (ie which comprises the rest of the world except the USA) participated in a meeting. He is Professor Constantine Memos from the University of Athens.

ASCE MeetingThe meeting started by Carlos A Brebbia, Director of WIT, welcoming the delegates and giving a short presentation on the work carried out at Wessex Institute. He emphasised that the objective of WIT is to disseminate technical knowledge at an international level. He explained the different types of research projects carried out using the latest computational tools developed by the Institute. As the Institute is self-supporting, the emphasis has always been in carrying out research and development work of interest to practitioners.

Carlos also mentioned that in addition to a substantial amount of R&D work for industry, WIT organises a programme of international courses and conferences per year which bring together members of the community. The meetings tend to focus on the exchange of information in a friendly atmosphere.

Those conferences provide as well a substantial number of papers which are offered in Open Access format on the Institute website (www.witpress.com/elibrary). The Publications Division provides an important support of WIT activities.

Following Carlos’ address, the President of the Region 10, Professor Constantine Memos, described some of the activities of the constitutive groups.

Constantine proceeded to give a short presentation on “Sustainability in Coast Studies”. The emphasis was to assess the potential for ecological enhancement through the use of porous breakwaters.

Another technical presentation was by Prof Patrick de Wilde of ASCE (Belgium) and a member of the Board of Directors of WIT, on “Challenges of Implementing State of the Art Structural Codes in a Developing Country”.

Prof Santiago Hernandez from La Coruña University, Fellow of ASCE and member of the Board of Directors of WIT, gave a talk on “Optimum Design of Long Span Bridges”.
A Presentation at the Meeting
The last presentation by Prof Stefano Mambretti from the Politecnico de Milano, and also a member of the Board of Directors at WIT, was on the topic of “Optimisation of Milano Water Supply Network”.

The presentations were followed by discussions and comments from the audience.

After that a light lunch was offered, subsequently an informal meeting of the ASCE/Group to discuss the way forward.

Monday, 5 December 2016

Impact and Blast Resistant Design Methods 2016

The Impact and Blast Resistant Design Methods course took place at Ashurst Lodge with the participation of two well-known lecturers, Professor Norman Jones and Dr Graham Schleyer, both from the University of Liverpool, UK.
This is an annual event that attracts delegates from many different countries.

N Jones2016
         Prof N Jones
Professor Norman Jones FREng FNAE FIMechE FASME FRINA was AA Griffith Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Director of the Impact Research Centre at the University of Liverpool. He has conducted theoretical, numerical and experimental studies at MIT in the US and the UK over the past 40 years into the dynamic behaviour of structures and systems. These studies have clarified the influence of dynamic material properties, dynamic crushing, transverse shear forces, finite deflection effects, failure criteria including perforation, rotatory inertia and other phenomena on the response of a wide range of structural members (beams, plates, shells, pipelines, etc) subjected to impulsive, dynamic pressure and impact loads causing large inelastic deformations.
Professor Jones is Honorary Editor-in-Chief of the International Journal of Impact Engineering. He wrote the book ‘Structural Impact’ and has co-edited nine other books, as well as publishing over 300 journal articles. He has won two prizes from the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, another from the Royal Institution of Naval Architects, an Eminent Scientist Award from the Wessex Institute of Technology, and has been invited to serve on many international conference committees as well as delivering plenary and opening addresses. He has honorary professorships in China and is a member of the Royal Academy of Engineering and a Foreign Fellow of the Indian National Academy of Engineering.

Dr Graham Schleyer FIMechE, is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Engineering and a member of the Impact Research Centre at the University of Liverpool, having worked previously for several years in the gas industry and for shorter periods with leading research and technology companies in the UK and the US. Over the past 20 years or so he has conducted hundreds of field and laboratory tests on full-size and reduced-scale structures involving gas, HE and pressurized air explosions which has provided useful insights into the explosion resistance of safety critical components and structural systems. An overall advance has been the development of sub-scale experimental procedures. These tests have resulted in the validation of numerical models and approximate design methods for steel, glass and RC structural elements subjected to pulse pressure loads.
Dr Schleyer is Co-chair of the International Scientific Advisory Committee of the International Conference ‘Structures Under Shock and Impact’ organised by the Wessex Institute of Technology. He also serves on the editorial board of the International Journal ‘Computational Methods and Experimental Measurements.’

The Course comprised the following lectures:
  • Introduction to impact and stress waves
  • Quasi-static approximation
  • Energy absorbing systems
  • Human impact injury criterion
  • Structural crashworthiness
  • Blast loading and effects
  • Dynamic properties of materials
  • Failure and perforation
  • Design of ductile and non-ductile structures
  • Energy absorption, cladding and sandwich structures
  • Buckling of structures
  • Scaling and experimentation
  • Case studies
The course, which has always been successful, is run annually.
Impact Group

For further information and details of the next event, please contact:

Jane Chantler 
Wessex Institute of Technology 
Ashurst Lodge, Ashurst 
Southampton, SO40 7AA 
Tel: 44 (0) 238 029 3223 
Fax: 44 (0) 238 029 2853 

Monday, 29 August 2016

WIT Summer Barbeque 2016

The 2016 Annual BBQ took place at the Ashurst Lodge Campus of the Wessex Institute with the presence of numerous members of staff and friends of the Institute and their families.

The annual event was most successful in terms of numbers of participants. The weather, as usual, was excellent. The main course was roasted Hampshire lamb with a variety of salads and side dishes. Music was provided by a saxophonist, accompanied by a singer, which set just the right atmosphere for a very enjoyable afternoon lawn party.

On this occasion the event was enhanced by the presence of the local Member of Parliament, Dr Julian Lewis, who very kindly inaugurated the newly completed Laboratory building and a garage/storage facility opposite it.

The new building is in perfect harmony with the rest of those on Campus and provides a valuable addition to the facilities of Wessex Institute

Tuesday, 3 May 2016

Special Seminar on Thermal Analysis of Residential Scale Ice Storage Devices

Professor Andrea Mammoli from the University of New Mexico, gave a seminar at Ashurst Lodge on the Thermal Analysis of Residential Scale Ice Storage Devices.
               Professor Mammoli
Wessex Institute has had over the years many contacts with the University of New Mexico at Albuquerque collaborating in the organisation of boundary element courses and several important international conferences in Sante Fe.
These links continue to this day with the co-organisation of the Multiphase Flow Conference, co-chaired by Professor Peter Vorobieff of the Mechanical Engineering Department.
Andrea who was spending his sabbatical at Ashurst Lodge, gave a short introduction describing the use of ice storage in the past up to today’s commercial scale ice storage devices.
The Hyatt Hotel in Albuquerque for instance has 40 large cylinders holding ice but there are no residential systems at present.
The reasons for this are various including tariffs that do not encourage such devices although they are ideal in places like New Mexico and California where more than 40% of the peak electricity demand is used in air conditioning.
Andrea described the experimental house built by the University to participate in a national competition, the DOE Solar Decathlon. The house has a residential ice storage system. The basic storage unit is made out of plastic, water and glycol.
Andrea described the mathematical model representing the problem and in that way calculated the rate at which heat could be transferred to and from the ice for a given configuration.
A comparable device is the Tesla Powerwall battery based on lithium. It can store 6.4 kWh of energy, and deliver 3.3kW at peak power which in terms of cost of the battery represents $468/KWh or $1,500/KW.
An ice storage device designed to store 7 kWh of energy can reduce the electricity load by over 4 kW. Such a cooling unit would contain approximately 200 kg of ice, and its size would be comparable to that of a small refrigerator. Andrea thought that its efficiency can be very high if the freezing is carried out at the right time during the day.
The widespread use of PV particularly in California means that there is a substantial supply of electricity during the day, ready at the time when people are at work at the time that the solar energy is being harvested. This situation changes in the evening when there is a considerable increase in power demand. This difference implies that many power plants need to be shut down during the day and restarted in the evening, which is uneconomical. The use of residential scale ice storage devices may be the right solution to even out the production of electricity throughout the day.
Andrea concluded that the ice storage device can compete favourably with a Tesla type battery in terms of cost and durability, although thermal storage is not intended to completely replace electric storage.
The presentation was followed by a large number of questions and suggestions by the audience.

Monday, 14 March 2016

ASCE UK Meeting at Wessex Institute of Technology

A meeting was arranged at the Wessex Institute Campus in Ashurst Lodge, to bring together the ASCE members in the UK and let them know about the recent developments of the Society in the USA, as well as listen to an interesting technical talk about bridge design.

The meeting was opened by Prof Carlos A Brebbia, President of the ASCE/UK Group, who described the work of Wessex Institute.  Carlos pointed out that WIT’s main function is the dissemination of knowledge and hence the Institute, rather than being in competition with other academic bodies, collaborates with many of them throughout the world.
ASCE members at a special event at Wessex Institute

The WIT activities are carried out through supporting industry with advanced consulting and software tools.  Another important role is the publication of specialist literature and maintaining a large Open Access database, from which papers can be downloaded for free.  A further function of WIT is the organisation of technical conferences in different locations, in collaboration with other research institutions and universities.

Carlos finished his introductory remarks by thanking everybody for coming to the meeting which he hoped will be followed by similar seminars in the future.  He also expressed the gratitude of ASCE/UK for the presence of the two speakers at the meeting, ie Prof Alex Cheng, from the USA, and Prof Santiago Hernandez from Spain.

Prof Alex Cheng is a Professor of Civil Engineering at the University of Mississippi and currently Dean of Engineering at the same School.  He has a distinguished academic and research career, starting with his PhD at Cornell University, where he also taught for some time before taking a position at Columbia University, followed by one at the University of Delaware.

He is renowned in the field of computational mechanics and serves now as the Editor in Chief of the International Journal of Engineering Analyses with Boundary Elements.  Alex is also a member of the Board of Directors of WIT and collaborates with the Institute as an Adjunct Professor.

He has been very active at ASCE where he was past president of the Engineering Mechanics Institute.  Amongst his many honours and awards he has been the recipient of the Walter L Huber, Civil Engineering Research Prize.

Alex started by paying tribute to the long Civil Engineering tradition in the UK. Civil Engineering can be dated to the first use of that name by Smeaton even before the Institute of Civil Engineers started.  It was much later that the ASCE was created.

Alex also mentioned that his own University of Mississippi at Oxford, founded in 1842, followed the English model.  One of the first founding professors, John Millington (1779-1868) was the author of The Elements of Civil Engineering, the first handbook of the profession. 

Alex explained the importance of the ASCE not only in the USA but also throughout the world.  It has developed a series of Institutes which carry out activities in many different countries.  It is still mainly a professional association in spite of its research interests.

Alex has been involved with the Engineering Mechanics Institute and described their technical support work which is very varied as it covers many different fields.  Some of these topics eventually gave rise to new groups in their own right.

The Institute’s interests range from computational methods to new materials and nanotechnology.  The topic of eco-friendly materials is very much in the agenda of the Institute.  The Institute has produced a series of successful reports dealing with civil engineering infrastructure problems, including the state of buildings, sewage systems and many other types of infrastructure.

ASCE members 

The ASCE reports are taken into consideration by the USA Government.  They are highlighted through the work of lobbyists in Washington.  This is an important function of ASCE and one of the main reasons for some experts to join the Society.

After Alex’s address, Carlos introduced Prof Santiago Hernandez, F.A.S.C.E.  Santiago is a Professor of Civil Engineering at the University of A Coruña, Spain.  Santiago also has a long and distinguished research career.  One of his main research areas is the analysis and design of bridges.  He has written a book on ‘Bridge Aeroelasticity: Sensitivity Analysis and Optimal Design’, recently published by WIT Press, 2011, ISBN: 978-1-84564-056-9.

Santiago has received a most important Award, ie the Distinguished Achievements Medal of Civil Engineers in Spain.  The award given once a year is highly prestigious.  Santiago is an Adjunct Professor, as well as Member of the Board of Directors, of the Wessex Institute.  He has collaborated with WIT for a long time, including in the organisation of courses and international conferences.

During his talk Santiago showed a series of interesting projects which were analysed by his Group.  He also described his laboratory facilities for testing bridge spans to obtain their aeroelastic properties.  Currently, there are – Santiago said – a number of interesting projects all around the world, many of them setting new records in terms of span length and new materials.  It took longer than 20 years after the famous Tacoma Bridge design for the profession to realise the importance of flutter.  The earlier understanding of the problem, as postulated by von Karman, produced what is now called von Karman Vortex Street, without pointing out the phenomenon of flutter.

Physical models of bridges are expensive to construct and run.  They do not always produce the best results due to problems of scale. Frequent design changes along the way make physical models difficult to use as they require constant modification.

Computational Fluid Dynamics software can also be used to understand the structure-fluid interactions such as the behaviour of the deck under wind.  They are not reliable for problems such as flutter, at the moment.

Because of that Santiago’s group proposed to combine experimental and computational methods.  The test is carried out using only a section of the deck to obtain the necessary coefficients to define that section as an element in a computer code.  The test is carried out in a comparatively small aerodynamic wind tunnel.

Flutter is the cancellation of the damping of the structure for a given wind speed.  As the speed of the wind increases the damping reduces, as was the case with the Tacoma Narrows Bridge.  Because of that it is necessary to compute the response of the bridge for different wind speeds and see when the damping becomes zero, obtaining in this way the higher wind speed that the bridge can undergo.

The advantage of Santiago’s approach is to require reduced laboratory facilities; testing is less expensive, costs are not related to bridge lengths, and the designer is given a better representation of flutter.

Both talks gave rise to a period of discussion with numerous questions and exchange of ideas amongst the participants.

The seminar was followed by a tour of the Wessex Institute premises, led by Carlos, who explained the work of the different departments.

Finally the members were offered a light lunch before departing.

The meeting was most successful and it is expected to lead to further collaboration amongst the participants.