Jacques Grosjean obituary (mai 2011)
Une nécrologie que je viens de decouvrir :
Jacques Grosjean obituary
- guardian.co.uk, Friday 27 May 2011
In 1961 Jacques Grosjean, link who has died aged 86, joined what was then the Bristol College of Science and Technology as head of the applied mechanics group. This recently designated College of Advanced Technology (CAT) was expanding fast, and Jacques was one of eight academics who joined at the same time. I was another.
In the mid-60s the CATs became universities, the Bristol college eventually metamorphosing into the University of Bath. Meanwhile, a couple of miles up the A38, Concorde and its engines were being designed, and a need was arising for engineers who could converse with their French colleagues. Jacques, in collaboration with Jim Coveney, who headed modern languages, responded by devising the engineering with French degree course. As well as French language and culture, students were taught one engineering discipline in French, in each year. The courses were taught initially by Jacques, but later a French engineer was employed for this duty. The students spent the industrial elements of the sandwich course in France.
The course was successful (one of the early students became a vice-president at Airbus) and was soon followed by a similar arrangement with Germany. Jacques' work led to close contact with the French technological universities, in particular the Ecole Centrale in Paris and ENSEM in Nancy. He was visiting lecturer at both. He was appointed Chevalier de l'Ordre National du Mérite by France in 1977. However, 40 or so years after their introduction, applications for the engineering-with-a-modern-language degrees tailed off, and recruitment was suspended last year.
Jacques was very concerned that engineering students should understand the mathematical background to their studies, and he published textbooks on this subject, among others. After retiring in the late 1980s, he continued writing, co-operating with Alex Moulton and Geraint Owen on The Moulton Formulae and Methods: Directly Usable for Calculation in Mechanical Engineering (2005), an aide-memoire loose-leaf book.
Jacques was born in Paris and came to Britain at the age of 15 to join the Free French forces under Charles de Gaulle. During the second world war he served in the Special Operations Executive. After the war he studied at Battersea Polytechnic, now Surrey University, for a degree in mechanical engineering. He joined the Bristol Aeroplane Company (now BAE Systems) at Filton, near Bristol, working on guided weapons, and then moved to Norris Consultants, also in Bristol, where he was chief designer.
Jacques is survived by his children, Peter and Caroline, and four grandchildren.