Colleagues pay tribute to Prof Clive Greated

School of Physics and Astronomy colleagues remember Professor Clive Greated who sadly passed away. Clive joined the School of Physics and Astronomy in 1972 as Senior Lecturer and was subsequently promoted to Reader, and then to the Chair of Fluid Dynamics in 1982. He retired in 2005, was appointed Professor Emeritus and Senior Honorary Professorial Fellow and continued to be actively involved in teaching, research and public engagement activities.

Previously he was Lecturer in the Mathematics Department at Southampton University, Whitworth Fellow at Emmanuel College Cambridge and engineer at the Danish Institute of Applied Hydraulics.  He obtained his BSc, PhD and DSc degrees from London, Southampton and City universities respectively. He was elected Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh in 1983.

Research contribution

Clive Greated was head of the Fluid Dynamics and Acoustics group which pioneered the development of laser measuring techniques for the study of wave motions in both fluids and gases.  He was one of the first to apply Laser Doppler Anemometry and Particle Image Velocimetry to study water wave dynamics and acoustic fields.  These techniques are now fundamental to a number of research programmes within the School of Physics and Astronomy as well as those in other Schools.  His reputation in this field led to international lecture tours, numerous research collaborations and grants funded from government agencies and industry.


He published around 100 papers in leading journals such as Journal of Fluid Mechanics, Physical Review, Acta Acustica, Acustica, Proceedings IEEE, Journal of Physics as well as numerous papers in conference proceedings.  He was co-author of three books; Laser Systems in Flow Measurement, the Musicians Guide to Acoustics, and Musical Instruments: History, Technology and Performance.

Public Engagement

He was extensively involved in promoting the University, and the public awareness of science, through workshops, exhibitions and broadcasts.

Teaching and student welfare

His contribution to teaching has spanned wide subject areas from Fluid Dynamics to Sound Synthesis.  He has contributed to the introduction of new degrees combining Physics with Music, and acted as Personal Tutor and Supervisor for numerous students.  He continued to teach on the MSc in Acoustics and Music Technology until a few months before his death.


His semi-professional career as a musician dates back to the age of 14 when he started playing saxophone with big bands in the London area. After moving to Scotland he turned mainly to playing keyboards, accompanying cabaret artists in clubs in and around Edinburgh and Glasgow. Most recently he played the keyboard for Edinburgh-based band Obsession.  Despite being unwell, Clive gave his last performance on Hogmany 2017.  He holds Licentiate teaching diplomas in piano and flute from the Royal Academy of Music and Trinity Colleges of Music.


Clive is survived by his wife, Yrsa, their two daughters Alicia and Marianne, and three grandchildren.


Former student and colleague Dr Michael Newton reflects on the influence Clive had on his career:

From my perspective, I would say that my overriding memory of Clive is what a tremendous encouragement he was to me, especially in the early days of my academic career. Having such a well-respected colleague show belief in you is probably one of the most positive and motivating things a young researcher can experience. His longstanding belief in the value of truly interdisciplinary research and teaching, covering everything from low level fluid mechanics, to musical instruments, and human hearing, continues to reverberate in the existence of the ongoing cross-College collaboration that is the Acoustics and Audio Group. For this, many of us still working in the subject area today owe him debt of gratitude.

Alistair Arnott, who worked with Clive commented:

Clive was incredibly successful at building the Fluids Dynamic group.  Dealing with many students and postdoctoral staff, he never turned anyone way saying he was too busy. Clive was an optimist, and he had a knack of making everyone feel welcome, and would put his faith in others.

He was involved in experimental techniques for measuring fluid flow and applying them to various projects using the application of physics to real problems such as coastal erosion, pneumatic transport & pollution dispersion.  He was also very keen on demonstrating the Fluid Dynamic group's wave tanks and lasers to visiting school groups.

His enthusiasm was equally as strong when it came to music.  It's said that mathematically-minded people are good at making music and Clive could back that up.  It was as though he could charm a tune out of any instrument he picked up!