Rodney Coates

As a lifelong sea angler, Rodney regarded the oceans as precious, a vulnerable resource for the whole planet and an unimaginably complex structure of interrelated ecosystems. His PhD in 1968 was in electronic communication, however the discovery of North Sea Oil in the 1970’s gave him the opportunity to research Underwater Acoustics thus, two of his passions, electronic engineering and the sea were combined.

A graduate of Southampton University and Queen’s University, Belfast, he started his academic career at London University. Then, by way of UCNW (Bangor University), a Chair at the University of East Anglia he finally retired from academia in 1996 with a Chair, from the University of Birmingham

Following his retirement, Rodney set up a consultancy training company, Seiche. He had recognized that although Underwater Acoustics was used by many disciplines, most users had to learn ‘on the job’ and many lacked the basic knowledge that underpinned the subject. Ultimately, the courses written and for the most part, presented by Rodney, were recognized to fill this niche by the IEEE in 2009, when he was made a Fellow for services to the education of Underwater Acoustics.

Rodney loved lecturing and teaching. One of the factors in his success was his ability to communicate and inspire people, whatever their age or background. He would say, when presenting a subject  “The most important thing is, that you, personally, understand your subject in order to communicate. For without communication, no others will have the opportunity to understand and learn and the subject will die”

As Rodney’s family, we are hoping that the prize that we have endowed in Rodney’s memory, will demonstrate that young researchers in Underwater Acoustics have not only developed an understanding of their subject but also, an ability to communicate their work to others of all backgrounds.

Gillian Coates
November 2015