Bill Trowbridge Cause of Death: How the Pioneer of Computational Electromagnetics Passed Away

Bill Trowbridge was a British physicist and engineer who made significant contributions to the field of computational electromagnetics. He was the founder of the International Compumag conference series and the co-founder of Vector Fields Ltd, a computer aided engineering consultancy. He was also a visiting professor at several universities and a foreign member of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences. He was awarded an OBE for his services to science in 1993. But how did he die and what was his cause of death?

Early Life and Career

Bill Trowbridge was born on 10 July 1930 in Totton, Hampshire, to Maurice Trowbridge, a dairy business owner, and Constance Sherrell, a cook. He had a brother, David, who survived him. He grew up during the Second World War and had vivid memories of his childhood in Lymington.

He attended Brockenhurst grammar school and HMS Conway naval training school from 1946 to 1948. He then worked in the merchant navy for eight years, travelling around the world and experiencing different cultures. He contracted malaria when he was 19 and spent months in hospital in Buenos Aires, where he wrote a play that was later lost.

He met his first wife, Barbara Edens, at Crewkerne fair in Somerset in 1954. They married later that year and had four children: Dinah, Simon, Mark and Paul. Bill decided to leave the sea and pursue a career in science. He joined the Atomic Energy Research Establishment (also known as Harwell Laboratory) in Oxfordshire as an assistant in 1957. He studied part-time to obtain a degree in physics from Regent Street Polytechnic (now part of the University of Westminster) in 1961.

He moved to the Rutherford Laboratory (now Rutherford Appleton Laboratory) in 1961 and became the head of its Computing Applications Group in 1971. He developed computer-based simulation tools for electromagnetic devices such as magnets, antennas, transformers and motors. He also initiated the Compumag conferences in 1976, which became the leading international forum for computational electromagnetics.

He co-founded Vector Fields Ltd in 1984 with John Simkin, a former colleague from Rutherford Laboratory. The company provided software and consultancy services for electromagnetic design and analysis. It was acquired by Chelton Group in 2005.

He retired from Rutherford Laboratory in 1987 but continued to work as a visiting professor at Imperial College London, King’s College London and the University of Genoa. He also received an honorary doctorate from the University of Graz in Austria.

He divorced Barbara Edens in 1968 and married his second wife, Rona Barrett, a journalist and television personality, in 1973. They moved to Santa Barbara, California, where they lived until his death.

Cause of Death

Bill Trowbridge died on 13 November 2019 at the age of 89. According to The Guardian, his cause of death was not disclosed but he had been suffering from dementia for several years. He was survived by his wife Rona Barrett, his children Dinah and Simon, his brother David and his grandchildren.

He was remembered as a pioneer and leader in his field, a generous mentor and friend, a passionate lover of arts and music, and a devoted husband and father. His legacy lives on through his publications, his software products, his conference series and his students.

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