Obituary: Professor Colin William Davidson



It is with great sadness that the University announces the passing of Professor Colin William Davidson.

Professor Davidson boasted a long and distinguished career at Heriot-Watt University, including Professor Emeritus, Head of Department of Electrical & Electronic Engineering and Dean of the Faculty of Engineering. He was also a valued member of Heriot-Watt University’s Court.

In 1961 Professor Davidson took up a post in industry with Nuclear Enterprises (GB) Ltd, but after four years he returned to the academic world, joining Heriot-Watt University as a lecturer when it was designated as one of the new universities.  Apart from a year on leave of absence spent teaching in Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok, he remained at Heriot-Watt for the rest of his career, becoming Head of Department and Dean of Engineering.

Professor Davidson was Head of Electrical Engineering and Dean of Science and Engineering for many years, but he always made time for his staff. His book on transmission lines formed the basis of the teaching of this subject for many years. If you went to see him about something you would always get a swift decision out of him (it was not always the decision you wanted but would be well justified!). Even after taking early retirement Colin still worked tirelessly for the Department and helped smooth out IEE (now IET) accreditation visits. He took great interest in the Department's move from the Grassmarket to Riccarton, which occurred after his retirement, but was into a building that he had a significant input in specifying and has been serving electrical engineering well for almost 30 years. His outside interests, both technical and sailing, always gave rise to interesting conversations over coffee and helped maintain an excellent collegiate atmosphere. 

Outside of Heriot-Watt, Professor Davidson served on the Senate of the Engineering Council and he was invited to become a Liveryman of the Worshipful Company of Engineers of the City of London, and was also appointed as a Freeman of the City of London.

He is survived by his wife and two daughters. The University sends heartfelt condolences to his family and friends.

Professor Colin Davidson, BSc PhD C.Eng Hon FIEE 1934 - 2020