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Death of Professor Roger Owen

Published: 15/01/2020

Roger OwenProfessor David Roger Jones Owen, Roger for his friends, died in Swansea at the age of 77 on Monday January 13th. He was Emeritus Professor in the Civil and Computational Engineering Centre at Swansea University, Wales, UK, and an international authority on finite element and discrete element techniques.

Prof. Owen was one of the few extraordinary cases in which the same person gathers all the attributes of being an eminent scientist and academic, and by having contributed with their work to the development of society. As a scientist he made important contributions to the field of computational mechanics. He was also a fine academic, an excellent teacher and a mentor of some 70 Ph.D. students. Last but not least, his work has been seminal to the development of computational mechanics worldwide.

His entrepreneurship side was evidenced by his personal involvement in creating and developing the company Rockfield Software Limited, twice acknowledged by the British Queen for being an innovative and successful international enterprise.

He received numerous awards from international organizations. For instance he was a Fellow of the Royal Society (UK), a member of the Royal Academy of Engineering (UK) and the US National Academy of Engineering. He also received the Gauss Newton Medal of the International Association for Computational Mechanics (IACM), the Grand Prize of the Japan Society for Computational Engineering and Science (JSCES) and the Award of the Spanish Association for Numerical Methods in Engineering (SEMNI).

Prof. Owen has a long tradition for cooperating with many universities and research organizations worldwide. At a personal level I have to acknowledge his long standing support to the Spanish community of computational mechanics and, in particular, to CIMNE, where he was the Chair of the International scientific Committee, and the School of Civil Engineering of Barcelona at the UPC, from which he received an Honorary Doctorate in 2012. Among his many initiatives, linking Swansea and UPC I highlight that he was the founder and co-chair of the 15 international conferences on Computational Plasticity held in Barcelona since 1987.

Roger was a person of an extraordinary humanity who knew how to combine a life dedicated to academic work with the enjoyment of the company of his many friends around the world. I had the privilege of considering myself one of his friends.

We have lost a great scientist and a great human being. We will all miss him very much. My sincerest condolences to his wife, his daughters and the rest of his family.

Eugenio Oñate
Professor of Structural and Continuum Mechanics Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya (UPC)
Director of International Centre for Numerical Methods in Engineering (CIMNE)