Roger Morgan Goodall (1946 – 2022)

Roger Goodall
Roger Morgan Goodall

We invite you to celebrate the life of our friend and colleague, Roger Goodall, who passed away peacefully at home on 16th August.  Roger was diagnosed with prostate cancer in January 2017, but as with most things he approached it with scientific interest and his characteristic positivity. He insisted that no-one should treat him any differently and that there should not be any “treading-on-eggshells” around him.

Roger graduated from Peterhouse College at the University of Cambridge, UK, in 1968 and worked initially at Brush and BAE systems.  In 1970 he joined British Rail’s Research Division in Derby, where he spent 12 years in industrial research. He took up an academic position as a Lecturer at Loughborough University in 1982, followed by promotion to Senior Lecturer and a period as Head of Department (Electronic and Electrical Engineering) from 1990-94. Roger was awarded his Chair in Control Systems Engineering in 1994 and established a vibrant Control Systems Research group at Loughborough during the mid-2000s. He was also Director of the EPSRCs Systems Engineering Doctorate Centre at Loughborough from 2005 to 2009 with more than 45 Eng.Doc graduates. In 2013 Roger was appointed to a second Professorship in the Institute of Railway Research at the University of Huddersfield, and he was contributing to research teams at both Loughborough and Huddersfield until very recently.

Roger was a champion for the subject of Mechatronics, with a speciality related to mechatronic suspension and steering systems for railway vehicles. His research projects have been characterised by strong industrial collaboration, having worked with companies such as Alstom, BAE Systems, Bombardier Transportation and Rolls-Royce. He was a Fellow of both the Institution of Electrical Engineers and the Institution of Mechanical Engineers and in 2007 he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering.

Roger was instrumental in many key innovations in railway engineering including the development of a suspension controller design for an experimental Maglev vehicle in 1976 which became the world’s first operational Maglev system at Birmingham Airport in the UK. He led the first experimental demonstration of a full-scale active suspension for a railway vehicle in 1979 and the first demonstration of tilting railway vehicle using electro-mechanical actuators (now the standard technology for European tilting trains). In 2002 Roger led the experimental demonstration of an actively-stabilised high-speed railway bogie and more recently with colleagues at Loughborough University, the development of algorithms for low adhesion detection and the development of a novel railway track switch.

An expert in Control Systems, Roger made contributions to the design of modern flight control laws for fixed wing aircraft, active vibration control for helicopters, and applications of active modal damping. He pioneered the use of the delta operator for rapid sampling applications and his ground breaking work on bespoke digital control architectures included innovations such as single-bit-processing for control implementation.

Roger served in a variety of external scientific and technical roles including the Board of Trustees for the International Association for Vehicle System Dynamics (IAVSD), Chairman of the UK Automatic Control Council (UKACC) and Chairman of the Railway Division for the UK’s Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE). Roger has received many awards, including the IMechE’s prestigious James Watt International Gold Medal. He was the 2nd Vice President of IAVSD from 2003 to 2005, IAVSD Treasurer from 2005 to 2011, and joint host of the 2011 IAVSD Symposium in Manchester. In 2021 Roger was made an Honorary Member of IAVSD.

Roger was a key figure in the International Federation of Automatic Control (IFAC), serving the federation in many roles between 1991 and 2022. Most notably, he was the inaugural Chair of the Technical Committee on Mechatronic Systems (2000-2005). He also served as IFAC Vice-President and Chair of the Executive Board from 2008-2014. In 2016, he was part of the team that successfully hosted the 7th IFAC Symposium on Mechatronic Systems at Loughborough University. Roger’s service to IFAC has continued with his appointment as IFAC Advisor (Lifetime) in 2017.  In 2019 Roger received a lifetime achievement award from IFAC for his pioneering research contributions in mechatronics and its application to industrial systems, particularly internationally leading research in Maglev and active control for future mechatronic railway vehicles.

Roger was a very modest man with a great sense of humour, and a wicked ability to deploy a Disney tie at the appropriate time (see above). Alongside his many outstanding achievements and awards he was, above all, a kind and supportive colleague to all those around him. A mentor and supporter of many; he was always generous with his time and keen to support his colleagues, peers, and students. A legacy of Roger’s selflessness and support for others is the current strength of railway research in a number of UK universities, which he was instrumental in establishing as part of an EPSRC initiative in the early 2000’s.

Roger will be missed by all of us. However, we can be certain that he would wish that we celebrate his life, rather than feel at all sad. To paraphrase his words, “All of this teaching, research, leadership and conference going is rather a lot of fun actually”.

Roger’s funeral will be held on the 14th of September at the village hall in Tealby, Lincolnshire.

Roger Dixon and Simon Iwnicki

The UK Automatic Control Council will host a memorial page for Roger on the UKACC website. Where those colleagues that wish to may leave a short anecdote, favourite memory, or any thoughts that you might like to share with his friends and family.

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