John Fleetwood Baker, Baron Baker OBE
(19 March 1901 – 9 September 1985) was a British
scientist and structural engineer.
Baker was born in Liscard, Cheshire, a son of J.W. Baker and Emily Fleetwood. He was educated at Rossall School
and Clare College, Cambridge
and married Fiona Mary MacAlister Walker in 1928.
After graduation, Baker worked with the Air Ministry
on structural problems of airships
. At 28, in 1929, he contracted tuberculosis. Upon recovering, he became a Technical Officer with the Structural Steel Research Committee, which was investigating why measured stresses in structural steel bore little resemblance to theoretical ones. During his time in this post, he developed the plastic theory of design, a revolutionary method of design of steel structures which gives a lower bound
on the collapse load, and is hence always safe. Until then, all design of steel structures was based on elastic theory
of design, which gives an upper bound
on the collapse load.
In 1933 Baker became Professor of Engineering at Bristol University
, after which he was scientific adviser
to the Design and Development Section of the Ministry of Home Security
from 1939 to 1943. In this time he created the Morrison indoor shelter
, using his plastic theory of structural analysis.
From 1943 to 1968, he was Professor
of Mechanical Sciences
and Head of Department at Cambridge University Engineering Department
. During this time the department more than tripled in size, from 24... Read More