ECM Faculty Focus
It is with sadness that we advise of the passing of Alan Billings, a Fellow of the Institution of Engineers, Australia.
Alan was the first Professor of Electrical Engineering at The University of Western Australia, a position he held from 1959. He was a PhD graduate from the University of London and Lecturer in Electrical Engineering at the University of Bristol.
Alan Billings joined the Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering at UWA as its Head and immediately set about building what became one of the strongest EE departments in Australia, recognised for its particular strength in electronics and materials. In support of the Department's electronics programme he set up a thin film microelectronics fabrication facility, a very significant undertaking at the time.
Because of his expertise he was often called upon as a consultant to Government. Professor Billings was a Member of the Working Party set up by the Department of Defence to report on Australian facilities for the production of custom-built microcircuits for defence purposes, 1974-1975.
He was a member of the Rees Committee appointed by the Federal Government to undertake External Review of the Defence Science and Technology Organisation whose report was tabled in Parliament in 1980. In Western Australia he was a Member of the Working Party on Energy Research set up by the Energy Advisory Council of W.A. in 1978, and Member of the Electronics Task Force established by the State Government 1981-83.
Academically and professionally Alan Billings was a strong advocate of research and at UWA one of his first endeavours was to foster postgraduate research and strong PhD programmes. He recognised and promoted scholarship in many areas as well as engineering and published widely in the journals of learned societies.
A noteworthy publication of his was the Monograph ‘Tensor Properties of Materials' published by John Wiley in 1968. He served on numerous research boards and funding bodies including the Australian Research Grants Committee, and the Radio Research Board, and was a fellow of the Academy of Technological Sciences.
Alan Billings was a most gregarious person with a wide circle of friends, a lover of music and the arts, and an avid follower of cricket and football. With Joyce, his wife, he was a well loved family man and leaves behind three children, eleven grandchildren and one great grandchild. He will be sadly missed by family, friends and the profession.
Written by: Professor John Hullett