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Francis Gibson Baily

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Francis Gibson Baily (1868-1945) Professor Emeritus, M.A., M.I.E.E., F.R.S.E. Newbury, Juniper Green, Midlothian.

1889-90. Pupilage with James Simpson and Co., pump makers, Pimlico.

1890-92. On staff of Siemens Brothers and Co., Woolwich.

1892-5. Lecturer in Electro-technics, University College, Liverpool.

1896-1933. Professor of Electrical Engineering, Heriot-Watt College, Edinburgh.

1933 - Retired.

1945 Obituary [1]

PROFESSOR FRANCIS GIBSON BAILY, M.A., who was born on the 18th March, 1868, died on the 23rd February, 1945, in his 77th year, at Juniper Green, Midlothian. He was educated at University College School, London, at the School of Mines at Clausthal, Germany, and at St. John's College, Cambridge, where he obtained a First Class in the Natural Science Tripos in 1888-89. From 1889 to 1892 he obtained practical experience with James Simpson and Co., and with Siemens Bros. He then went as a lecturer to University College, Liverpool, where he had the late Prof. W. M. Thornton as a student. In 1896 he was appointed Professor of Electrical Engineering at Heriot-Watt College, Edinburgh, where he remained for 37 years, retiring in. 1933.

He was President of the Engineering Section of the British Association at the Aberdeen meeting in 1934. In his Presidential Address he dealt with the cheaper generation of power, both by a more economical use of coal and by the development of water power, with special reference to Scotland. He had always been keenly interested in this subject, and had read a paper on "The Distribution of Energy in Towns" before the Liverpool Engineering Society in 1895. In later years he frequently wrote and spoke on the development of water power, stressing always the preservation of natural beauty. During the War of 1914-18 he worked on the development of a sensitive microphone with which to detect tunnelling in trench warfare. It was probably this that led him later to develop a sensitive bifilar seismograph. This was erected in a small hut in his garden and is said to have responded to a cat walking across the lawn.

He was best known to scientists for his magnetic researches. In 1894 he read before Section A of the British Association his celebrated paper on the hysteresis of iron and steel in a rotating magnetic field, showing that beyond a certain value of flux density the loss decreased with increasing saturation. In the following year he read a paper, also before Section A, showing that in an alternating magnetic field the hysteresis loss does not increase so rapidly at very high saturation. In 1901 he described in The Electrician a novel form of permeameter and contributed several articles on various magnetic subjects. In 1914 the Edinburgh Royal Society of Arts, of which he was a Fellow, awarded him the Hepburn Prize for a paper on " A New Form of Milk Steriliser adapted for Domestic Use." He was very active to the end: The Architectural Review for April, 1945, contained a paper on "Small Water Power Schemes," which he wrote a few weeks before his death.

In 1899 he married Margaret Naismith Osborne Pagan who survives him. They had one son and one daughter.

He joined The Institution as an Associate in 1889 and was elected a Member in 1900. He served as Chairman of the Glasgow Local Section in 1907 and again in 1934 when it had become the Scottish Centre. His first Chairman's Address was devoted to the subject of "Apprenticeship and Education"; in his second, he reviewed the developments which had taken place during his 45 years' association with The Institution.

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