David Rachman, Chartered Engineer and academic; born October 24, 1919, died June 20, 1998

DAVID Rachman was one of a dying breed of engineer for whom the computer thankfully remained a mystery. He worked all of his professional life in Glasgow and travelled widely, presenting papers at international conferences and symposia worldwide.

Unusually David graduated in both mechanical and electrical engineering from Glasgow University in 1946. He took up a position as a lecturer in mechanical engineering at the Royal Technical College in George Street (now Strathclyde University).

David designed and supervised the building of two laboratories (one for hydraulics and one for thermodynamics) in the first new building at Strathclyde University in Montrose Street. The yellow plastic duck which floated in one of the experimental water tanks is famous with generations of engineers who studied under David's guidance. they probably have nightmares about it! David gained his Masters degree from Glasgow in 1965.

A committed internationalist, David was the prime mover in fostering relations between the academic institutions of central and eastern Europe and Strathclyde. His efforts in this area continue to bear fruit. In 1980 David's poor health lead him to retire early from academic life as a senior lecturer.

David Rachman was a leading expert on cavitation. On one famous occasion David received a mid-morning call in Glasgow from a leading London lawyer, who asked him to appear at 2pm that afternoon as an expert witness in an arbitration. This in the days before there was a shuttle service and planes had propellers, somehow he made it and met the QC on the steps of the court with two minutes to spare.

Born in Wilno in Lithuania in 1919, when the map of Europe was constantly being redrawn, David's Jewish parents traced their ancestry back to Tula in Russia. David was the only child of Wulf and Raszel Rachman. Raszel, a dental surgeon, won the battle for David's mind and shaped his fearsome intellect and thirst for knowledge.

The family Rachman moved to Warsaw when David was five, he attended the Gimnasium Zgromadzenia Kupcow on Ulica Prosta. David left school able to speak five languages, an unusual feat for his choice of profession. Such was the respect that the teaching staff at the GZK generated, that until his dying day David paid for the maintenance of his physics tutor's grave.

David left Poland for England in 1939 to advance his studies and learn English. Sadly, he was never to see his parents again. With the outbreak of war David volunteered for the Polish Army and worked as an interpreter in Dumfriesshire before being demobbed on health grounds. In 1941 David then took up his studies again, this time at Glasgow University, where as well as academic works, he gained a practical engineering education with some of the great names of Clydeside.

Throughout his life David maintained a passion for the training, education, and development of the professional engineer. He was a lifelong member of the Institute of Engineers and Shipbuilders in Scotland and served a number of terms as a Member of Council, where his inter-disciplinary knowledge often proved catalytic in discussion. David was also a lifelong member and latterly fellow of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers through which the Engineering Council awarded him the style of Chartered Engineer.

David Rachman enjoyed the company of the students who came to Strathclyde from all parts of the globe. He welcomed them into his home, often turning over his wife Georgina's kitchen to their charge, so as to sample the delights of the native dishes of his increasingly international classes.

A famous disciplinarian who would not balk at barring the entry of those students who dared to arrive late for his lectures, David earned the respect and friendship of many with whom he was still in touch until his sudden departure. A fact witnessed by his extraordinary telephone bill!

In early 1956 David met Georgina Smith at a mutual friend's house-warming party in Milngavie. They were married in march of 1957 and their first child, Marc, was born in 1958. Twins followed in 1959, David and Delia being dubbed the ''D-series'' in true engineering style!

David had an extraordinary talent for making preserves. Scotland's abundant supply of soft fruit providing a wonderful backdrop against which to practice his art. He was never happier than when making raspberry jam, from the wild berries he and the children had picked in the Clyde Valley that same day. It gave David even greater pleasure to give away the results of his labour as presents. Famously on one occasion he drove north to meet the Islay ferry and deliver some jam, he missed the ferry and rolled his car on the long journey home, being extracted upside down from the stricken vehicle by the Lochgliphead police.

A passion for speed and fast motor cycles was one of David's weaknesses. During the late 1940s and early 1950s he owned a number of thrilling bikes and opened the throttle up over most of Scotland and parts of Northern Europe. Climbing and sailing were among David's other interests.

David suffered from chronic asthma, emphysema, and depression. He knew these enemies inside out and kept a look-out for new developments, providing a significant challenge to the physicians who attended him. David fought and won many battles against these debilitating diseases, most recently in July 1997.

David Rachman touched and influenced the lives of many people for good and ill, none is ever likely to forget the experience. His life was a celebration of willpower against the odds. He is survived by his wife, three children, and three grandchildren who carry of his genes (including a famously short temper) into eternity.