EMERITUS Professor Roger Pollard, former Professor of High Frequency Measurements and Dean of the Faculty of Engineering at Leeds University who has died after a short illness at the age of 65, was the archetypical Renaissance man.
Convinced that technological progress should improve people’s lives – he was one of the first to bring a smart phone or laptop to meetings – he also placed a high value on the arts and humanities, believing that intellectual curiosity could and should have no limits.
He had a wide knowledge of literature, language and the arts, and a substantial understanding of law, political history, and economics.
Humorous and witty, he enlivened the annual Faculty planning meetings at the university with his personal portfolio of cartoon slides.
His dedication to extracting practical applications from blue sky research brought him to the attention of industry; he was a consultant to nine companies and had a particularly long-standing association with Agilent Technologies (previously Hewlett-Packard) which began in 1981 and continued into his retirement.
Born in London, Professor Pollard went to Hendon County Grammar School, and having worked a number of years in the Engineering Division of the BBC, in 1969 he got a place at Leeds University to read Electrical and Electronic Engineering.
Leeds was to remain his academic home for the next 41 years. Having graduated with a first class degree in 1972, he went on to postgraduate study and, in 1974, was appointed Lecturer in the Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering. He was awarded his PhD in 1980 and promoted to Senior Lecturer in 1985. He was made Professor of High Frequency Measurements in 1995.
His research into microwave solid-state devices and circuits combined practical application with theory, and led to his being awarded three patents, and contributions to 10 books.
His reputation was such that in 1997 he was elected Fellow of the US Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE). He became the first non-US citizen to be President of that organisation’s Microwave Theory and Techniques Society.
Prizes and other honours followed, including his election, in 2005, as a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering. He was also a Fellow of the Institution of Engineering and Technology.
A convivial man, no one who knew him would have been surprised that this expert in electronic and electrical engineering should have served a lengthy stint as Steward of the university’s Senate Dining Club.
After a re-organisation in 2002, he became the university’s first Dean of the Faculty of Engineering, a position he held until his retirement last year.
Professor Pollard is survived by his wife, Anne, and their daughters Kate and Jane.