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Tribute to Emeritus Professor Adrian Long

It is with great sadness that we have learnt of the passing of an esteemed colleague, Professor Adrian Long OBE, Emeritus Professor in the School of Natural and Built Environment.

Emeritus Professor Adrian Long

Adrian began his career at Queen's in 1971, retiring in 2006, but remaining active as an Emeritus Professor and continuing to work closely with colleagues, providing valuable advice and guidance in the development of applications for research funding.

In 1976, and at the age of just 35, Adrian was appointed the 1849 Professor of Civil Engineering at Queen's. The following year, he was appointed as Head of Civil Engineering, a post he held from 1977 until 1989. He then was the first Director of the School of the Built Environment from 1989 to 1998 and Dean of the Faculty of Engineering from 1988 to 1991 and again in 1998 to 2002. Adrian was a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering, Irish Academy of Engineering, Institution of Civil Engineers, Institution of Structural Engineers, American Concrete Institute and of the Institute for the Advancement of Engineering. In 2002, he was appointed as the 138th President of the Institution of Civil Engineers – the first Northern Irish person to hold the position.

Adrian's academic research was largely in the field of concrete structures; particularly in assessing the strength and durability of concrete using non-destructive test techniques and rapid form of constructing arch bridge structures. He pioneered research and application in both industry and academia – promoting concrete as a construction material and developing novel and innovative approaches to solving industry problems. His research broke new ground, predominantly in the area of concrete durability and strength, specifically in-situ testing. He was responsible for developing the 'Limpet' pull-off test to assess the strength of concrete on site – now an EU and UK standard. From 1997 Adrian worked on the FlexiArch system, a pre-cast concrete arch used in the manufacture of bridges. In 2004, Adrian patented the product, and to date more than 100 FlexiArch bridges have been constructed across the UK and Ireland by pre-cast concrete specialists Macrete Ireland.

Without doubt one of the highlights of his career was his role as President of the ICE in 2002. This appointment was a source of great joy and pride to Adrian, as it represented significant recognition by his peers of his impact on the profession. The award of his OBE in the 2006 New Year Honours was a further cause for celebration. Further accolades were to follow, with the conferment of an honorary degree by City University London in 2007 for his contribution to the concrete industry and the award of the ICE Gold Medal in 2011. In 2007, he was honoured by his colleagues in the School by hosting an international conference in his name. Following this, the Adrian Long medal, with Adrian's bust depicted on it, for the best manuscript published in an ICE journal by a Northern Ireland ICE member was installed by ICE Northern Ireland.

As someone who was passionate about his profession and educating the next generation of civil engineers, Adrian was a gifted and dedicated teacher and had an exceptional ability to connect with students. A PhD supervisor to more than 25 students over many years, his exceptional commitment and patient dedication in guiding them through their doctoral studies was well recognised. Many current Queen's staff were students of Adrian and recall his firm warmth which instilled confidence and security. He was an exceptional mentor, generous with his time and ideas, encouraging a new generation of engineers.

Adrian was a true ambassador for both his School and the University. He presented lectures at universities and Learned Societies in Japan, China, UK, Europe, United States, Canada, Australia, Singapore, Malaysia, India, Hong Kong, Thailand and South Africa. He was part of numerous Technical Committees of the American Concrete Institute and Research panels of ICE, EPSRC and EU. He was the chair of the UK Research Assessment Exercise panel for Civil Engineering in 2008, after serving as the Deputy Chairman in RAE 2001 and a member in 1996.

Adrian will be remembered not only for his considerable academic achievements, but also for his warmth, kindness and generosity of spirit and his commitment to his students and colleagues during his long career at Queen's.

To Adrian's wife, Elaine, his son Michael and daughter Alison, and the wider family circle, we offer the sincerest sympathies of the entire Queen's community.