Volume 10, 2023
|Number of page(s)
|24 August 2023
In memory of Prof. Frank W. Travis
The University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, G1 1XJ, UK
* e-mail: email@example.com
Accepted: 2 August 2023
Professor Frank Travis who attended the 4th International Conference on New Forming Technology in August 2015, Glasgow, UK.
When I started planning the setup of the journal Manufacturing Review with EDP Sciences, Professor Frank Travis was incredibly enthusiastic about this initiative. He also happily accepted a role as the journal's advisor. His enthusiasm perfectly aligned with the principle he held dear in his life, which was to publish, if possible, any research result that could benefit the society. This also reminded me of his emphasis on the importance of publishing, as he would often repeat the word “publishing” multiple times during his keynote speeches at international/social events. While he might not have explicitly mentioned the dissemination and exploitation of research results in the past, it was evident that Professor Travis had the same intention.
Besides being an international leader in research and dissemination of research results in metal forming, for a significant amount of his time as an academic, Professor Travis devoted his efforts to the Journal of Materials Processing Technology (JMPT) , which he founded and served as Editor-in-Chief for 27 yr. With his efforts, JMPT became one of the most popular journals in disseminating the research results in engineering and manufacturing. His achievements in both research and JMPT were well-documented and widely known worldwide. Professor Raj Balendra, my PhD supervisor at the University of Strathclyde, also one of Frank's former colleagues and friends, published an article in JMPT for an event in 2005 in Glasgow  celebrating Professor Travis' 70th birthday, providing an excellent summary of Professor Travis' career accomplishments. In August 2015, research leaders and researchers in materials processing technology from many countries gathered in Glasgow to celebrate Travis' 80th birthday , a reflection of his significant status as a leading academic and highly respected individual.
After Professor Travis returned to Scotland from Hong Kong after retirement, we were able to meet each other frequently, initially due to his engagements with us as an Academic Tutor. Since then, we have benefited tremendously from his experiences and learned greatly from him as a person. His lectures to our researchers on how to write theses and publications were definite highlights of his knowledge, enthusiasm, sense of humour, and overall educational quality and skills. Furthermore, his ability to motivate people around him by creating a relaxed, friendly, and easy communicating environment, was highly appreciated by our colleagues. I learned a great deal from him when I started my academic career at the University of Strathclyde.
I still remember one of my experiences with Professor Travis when I was a young lecturer: I drove to his house in Arrochar, Loch Long, Scotland, which is about 36 miles from Glasgow, to hand over hardcopies of our revised manuscripts prepared for a special issue in JMPT. Thankfully, in that time, we didn't need to post the manuscripts to him since the Editor-in-Chief lived nearby. I had prepared extensive notes beforehand on the corrections we made after the review and was a bit nervous about the outcome before I went! When I arrived at the house, the first thing Professor Travis said was ‘don't worry, we will sort it out today,' and then, he and his wife, Mrs. Jean Travis, gave me a warm welcome by giving me a tour of his house, serving me English tea, chatting about his life in Arrochar, and then, his plan for his garden (including that famous Chinese pavilion he built himself within his garden), etc. These actions tremendously calmed me down! After that, we went through the papers, and he made suggestions for further corrections which he marked carefully on the hardcopies. Later, making the corrections in the electronic version of the papers by following his notes helped me a lot in improving my writing skills. Through working with Professor Travis since he returned to Scotland, I learned a lot from him how to work with my students, after I formed my research group at Strathclyde.
In 2005, the International Forum on Advanced Materials Processing Technology, an event celebrating Prof. Travis' 70th birthday, was successfully held in Glasgow, and a special issue was published in JMPT. Immediately after this, I mentioned to him that we would have another similar conference in Glasgow in 10 yr time when we would celebrate his 80th birthday, to which he happily accepted by saying ‘it would be grand!' In response, I told him, ‘by doing this, you will have to keep fit for standing in front of a big audience and giving a speech for 20 min'. He said, ‘Yes, I think I can do it!' followed by a big smile from him. When we had the 4th International Conference on New Forming Technology held in Glasgow in August 2015, we celebrated his 80th birthday as an associated event. As the Chair of the Conference, I invited him to give a plenary address and informed him that the time allocated for his speech is 20 min, but he actually gave a talk for 45 min! After which, he said he could have gone on for a longer time if the schedule allowed! I believed him, since he spent a lot of time doing outdoor exercises after retirement, such as transforming his big garden in Arrochar, including transporting stones to their garden to build the entire Chinese pavilion by himself.
As an easy-going person, Professor Travis had a relaxed attitude towards changes in his career and roles. During his last 20 years of living in Scotland, he provided tremendous support to my research group in research projects and training for young researchers. He frequently gave lectures and individual tutoring on research methodologies and academic writing. In his later years in Scotland, he still corrected my students' papers with the help of a magnifying glass since his eyesight had worsened. When the university HR informed me that they needed to assign him an official role for his work with us as a ‘Temporary Assistant', I called him and told him the title the university intended to give him; he just laughed, laughed loudly, and then said, ‘That's great, and this just completes my life cycle since I started my first job in Manchester many years ago as a Temporary Assistant too!'.
Besides his great personality, Professor Travis was also very friendly, even to people who did not know him at all. During an academic tour in one of Asian cities, Professor Travis and I hired a taxi driver to help us travelling within the city. We noticed one day after completing our tour that the taxi driver was still waiting outside the hotel, despite the hot and dry weather in that day. Professor Travis asked me why he didn't go home after finishing the job with us, and I said that he probably was waiting for another job. Then, Frank went to a shop inside the hotel, bought a pack of soft drinks, and went outside to give the taxi driver the whole pack of the drinks, which was really moving for the people around.
Being a Professor Travis' friend is one of the proudest things in my life and for my family. We had some great times together since he returned to Scotland from Hong Kong. Every time he and Jean came to my house, one thing was guaranteed − plenty of pleasant chats, as he was so talented at creating a relaxed atmosphere. After his 80th birthday, he started picking up his piano skills again. Once, after dinner at my house, he started playing the piano and singing a song, and the level he showed in piano and singing skills was very high, astounding all the people in the house. This is just a small clip demonstrating his many talents.
I could mention many things about Professor Travis and that we have benefited from, learning and help from him, about which we could write a book. We remember him not only for his contributions to scientific research but also for the positive influences he had on people in many ways.
Manufacturing Review, as one of the new journals, has grown steadily over the last several years and achieving an impact factor (IF) of 2.5 in its first IF data release is a remarkable achievement for a new engineering journal. We thank Professor Frank Travis, as the journal advisor, who gave us tremendous encouragement, valuable advice, and kind help in setting up and growing the journal.
We lost a great leader, educator, influencer and a dear friend. The smiles, encouragement and wisdom he left will always be with us.
- F.W. Travis, Opening address: my thanks to all those who over the years have supported, J. Mater. Process. Technol. 167 (2005) 141–143 [CrossRef] [Google Scholar]
- R. Balendra, Professor Frank W. Travis, J. Mater. Process. Technol. 167 (2005) 144–150 [CrossRef] [Google Scholar]
- Y. Qin, T.A. Dean, J. Lin, S.J. Yuan, F. Vollertsen, New forming technology 2015, in: Proceedings of the 4th ICNFT, MATEC Web of Conferences, EDP Sciences, August 2015. [Google Scholar]
Cite this article as: Yi Qin, In memory of Prof. Frank W. Travis, Manufacturing Rev. 10, 14 (2023)
© Y. Qin, Published by EDP Sciences 2023
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
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