About this site
This web site has been developed to act as a gateway to my various areas of academic and quasi-academic research. It includes links to the books and many of the research papers I have written, the theses of students I have supervised, my more recent work on aspects of Midlands history and my ecclesiatical and theological interests.
The material is arranged in four sections. The first three of these – technical studies, historical studies, ecclesiastical studies represent well defined areas of interest. The fourth – Miscellany – is something of a random collection of thoughts and opinions across a variety of subjects and issues. They can be accessed from the menu bar above or from the links below.
There is inevitably some overlap between these categories – and in particular he material on rail vehicles in cross winds in the Train Aerodynamics category and road vehicles in cross winds in the Transport category could easily fit into the Wind Engineering category.
I was born and brought up in Brierley Hill in the Black Country and attended the local grammar school From there I went to St Catharine’s College in Cambridge where I read Engineering, graduating with a BA in 1975, and an MA and a PhD in 1978. Following a Research Fellowship there at St Catharine’s College and the Department of Engineering, in the early 1980s I began work in the Aerodynamics Unit of British Rail Research in Derby, before moving to an academic position in the Department of Civil Engineering at the University of Nottingham. I remained there till 1998 where I was a lecturer, reader and professor with research interests in vehicle aerodynamics, wind engineering, environmental fluid mechanics and agricultural aerodynamics. In 1998 I moved to the University of Birmingham as Professor of Environmental Fluid Mechanics in the School of Civil Engineering.
In the early years of the present century I was Director of Teaching in the newly formed School of Engineering and Deputy Head of School. From 2003 to 2008 I was Head of Civil Engineering and in 2008 I served for a short time as Acting Head of the College of Engineering and Physical Sciences. I was the Director of the Birmingham Centre for Railway Research and Education 2005-2014. I undertook a 30% secondment to the Transport Systems Catapult Centre in Milton Keynes, as Science Director from 2014 to 2016. I retired at the end of 2017 and took up an Emeritus position. In July 2020 I was awarded the Davenport Medal, the senior award of the International Association of Wind Engineering.
I was also ordained as an Anglican clergyman in 1988, and have been attached to parishes in Matlock, Nottingham and for the last 20+ years, in Lichfield, as a non-stipendiary minister. I am currently a member of the Ministry Team at St. Michael-on-Greenhill in Lichfield, where I also look after social media engagement.
I continue to be involved in research in train aerodynamics, wind engineering and transport issues, including work for the Railway Safety and Standards Board. I have carried out historical work on the development of the Manor and Parish of Kingswinford in the Black Country and also on aspects of Lichfield history. I am currently webmaster and social media manager for the Black Country Society, and convenor of the Society’s Virtual Heritage Group.
My email address is firstname.lastname@example.org and my Skype address is bakercj2.