and engineering acknowledged John Argyris's supremacy in aeronautical engineering design, notably a very talented scientists who was the senior principal officer of the National Physical Laboratory at Teddington and chairman of the Aeronautical Research Council, a certain Harold Leslie Cox.
††After the war others had seen and could see John Argyris's greatness emerging. Sir Arnold Hall who was the senior Professor of Aeronautical Structures at Imperial College asked him to become senior lecturer and then reader within a couple of months. Sir Arnold had seen at first hand with amazement the revolutionary things that John Argyris was doing whilst he was working in the Aeronautics industry. At the Imperial College of the University of London, John Argyris developed fully his 'Finite Element Method', the most advanced mathematical engineering design tool in the world. [One has to say at this point that as time would tell, as like Newton and Leibniz with the development of the 'Calculus', John Argyris would have an equivalent person arise in the form of an American to the development of the FEM. But precedence for Britain and not the United States of America is documented, as John Argyris had started his development of the FEM in the early 1940's, some twenty years before the American equivalent was documented]
††John Argyris was made a member of the Aeronautics sub-committee of the Aeronautical Research Council and further advanced their calculations methods and designs. One use of John Argyris's FEM was to determine that the first commercial jet air-liner, The Comet, was unsafe. He predicted that the plane would crash in its present design form. The Establishment of the time in the form of the Ministry of Aircraft Production (Ministry of Supply) were outraged and taken aback by John Argyris's comments. Indeed, they said that he was 'mad'. In support of John Argyris, Sir Arnold Hall told the Ministry to be very careful as he knew John Argyris knew what he was talking about. Indeed, after the second disintegration of a scheduled Comet flight, an American institution approached John Argyris with
a view that he would become their expert witness and adviser in a high compensation case through the courts for their clients (relatives of the dead). They said that they were going to make a formal attack on the British aircraft industry. John Argyris refused, despite being offered 5 million German Deutsche Marks by the institution, saying that he could not do this to Britain. A man therefore working for ones adopted country was of paramount importance. How many people today would have done a similar thing? Yes therefore we say, John Argyris was a true patriot of his adopted country, Britain, and that countered for more than anything else.
††As John Argyris's great work progressed in bringing the FEM to an extraordinary level of technical advancement, corporations and government departments would seek out John Argyris for help in solving what seemed to them to be unsolvably complex problems. Three of these instances concerned the NASA. The first was the dangers of heating-up and design of the mighty Apollo Rockets. This was a tremendous undertaking for which John Argyris was reported for his achievements in the American newspapers. The second was the determination of the stabilising technology for the 1969 moon module and where as with all the NASA projects worked on by John Argyris, they had to be so that the whole 'Mission' could go and come back 'Safely'. Again John Argyris solved the problem which was stopping the launch into space taking place. And thirdly, the re-entry problem for NASA where the space shuttle could quite easily burn-up when re-entering the earth's atmosphere. The determination of the safety of the nose shield was of paramount consideration for NASA. John Argyris undertook the mathematical analysis and design of the nose-cone of the Space Shuttle where the calculations of the high temperatures had to be determined and what their effect would be on the craft. NASA was greatly impressed as one would be and have ever since used the Finite Element Method as their leading design tool. Amongst a multitude of others, is work at the European CERN by John
Argyris. Indeed, in respect of the NASA work, even other western governments asked John Argyris for a copy of his groundbreaking analysis and designs, some of the nations clearly not being able to budget for a manned flight to the moon. Other than governments, many large corporations such as Daimler Benz, Boeing and others of similar standing would ask John Argyris for his help. This again usually involved the solution of seemingly unsolvably complex problems that they had failed to solve. The Establishment of the time in the form of Sir Alfred Pugsley who was Director of Aircraft Structure at Farnborough, was against the work of John Argyris. He hindered him at every turn of the foot and said that his revolutionary ideas were all nonsense, would never work and cannot be done. After the Comet situation, Sir Alfred accepted that what John Argyris was saying and doing was correct. This cemented the situation with agreeing with him that the FEM was a revolutionary design tool but he made one overriding comment, "Remember that you are here to obey our orders and not to think for yourself"! The bureaucratic Establishment at its best and as we of mere mortals are supposed to serve. John Argyris continued to develop the potential of the FEM to a remarkable and astonishing extent.
††In Germany, the German Minister of Education had heard of John Argyris and his revolutionary work. He personally came to Britain and was so amazed with what he saw that he said that he would give John Argyris all the necessary resources and finance to set up his own institution in Germany and there carry on his great work.
††The German minister told him to formulate plans for the development of such an institution which he believed was a brilliant conception. Britain, typically, could not at the time see the immense potential as they did not understand fully the thinking of John Argyris, it was far in advance of anything at the time. This situation is even present today as over 67,000 web sites either dedicated to the FEM or use its methods continuously can testify. As a matter of interest the number of websites for the FEM (or FEA-Finite Element Analysis) is constantly increasing, as
only nine months ago the FEM's websites number just short of 58,000. As the British would not help John Argyris he left for Germany with a heavy heart, for he wanted dearly to stay in his adopted country of choice. Germany could see where Britain could not and another great loss to the UK's future was sealed. These and other issues are the reason why Germany has become the most powerful and dominant economy in Europe today. The only blessing was that John Argyris stayed as professor of Aeronautical Structures at Imperial College of the University of London. Indeed, when John Argyris was known to be going to Germany, the British Government set up a National Agency for the Finite Element Methods and Standards and where WIF member Professor of Aeronautical Structures at Imperial College Glyn Davies has been a Consultant since ever 1983.
††The new institution in Stuttgart, Germany, started from nothing but after a short period of time had increased to over thirty highly skilled engineers from England, Europe and the USA. This eventually developed into the leading institution for computer applications in the world. Itís services, like today, are in great demand for solving complex phenomena that to many are unsolvable. Indeed, the Chinese were so amazed with John Argyris's work and what he said to them that they made him like many nations, a honorary professor of their leading engineering universities.
††With the immense success of the institution, John Argyris started what was to become the world's leading technical journal in Computational Mechanics. Today, with John Argyris as the Journal's Editor-in-Chief, it is served by the world's leading intuitive engineers and where there are over forty publications a year. Conferences for the journal members are held worldwide annually and include the world's leading mathematicians and engineers. John Argyris is still their chairman.
††Up to his retirement John Argyris took all the institution's doctoral students under his wing and was the final arbiter if they had reached the doctoral level of the world's leading institution in computational mechanics.
††Over the last forty years
www.thewif.org.uk - The World Innovation Foundation - April - July 2000 3