Rasbash Lecture 2019

The IFE’s annual Rasbash Lecture took place at Surgeons’ Hall, Edinburgh on Friday 8th November. With the theme of “Investigating the physics of wildfires to help build resilience in society”, it proved a compelling insight into this topical issue. Professor Albert Simeoni provided the audience with a comprehensive overview of the challenges that our societies face and what can be done to overcome them.

The lecture was well attended with more than 100 fire professionals and students in the lecture hall as Professor Simeoni focussed particularly on the issue of Wildland-Urban Interface alongside the research that can be developed to mitigate the impact of wildfires. With a wide range of examples and a thorough insight into the different approaches to firefighting and fire management alongside the fundamentals for the drivers of fire spread and fire impact. The knowledge and exploration of these topics really brought home the advancements in research and how current capacity to predict wildfire behaviour can be improved in an ever-changing environment.

At the conclusion of the lecture, Peter Holland CBE QFSM FIFireE (Life), Vice Chairman of the IFE was on hand to present Professor Simeoni with the prestigious Rasbash Memorial Medal.

The Rasbash Lecture commemorates the life and work of Professor David Rasbash (1921 – 1997), a pioneer in the field of fire safety engineering. He was an early proponent of the standardisation of automatic fire detection and carried out some of the earliest work on explosions and explosion venting, which laid the foundation for current practices. He later became involved in the evaluation of fire safety and the quantification of risk. David’s contributions to all of these subjects were greatly significant, and many have become standard references.

In his will, Professor David Rasbash bequeathed a sum of money to the Institute of Fire Safety. The David Rasbash Memorial Fund was subsequently transferred to the Institution of Fire Engineers following the formation of the Engineering Council Division (ECD) in 2000. The Board of the ECD took the decision to use the income from the fund to support an annual lecture bearing his name. The Rasbash Lecture is a prestigious event in the Institution’s calendar. The lecture is selected on the basis of their eminence in the field of fire safety engineering and the event is marked by the presentation of the Rasbash Memorial Medal.

Roy Bishop, CEO of the IFE has described the lecture as “a vital part of the IFE calendar. The lectures and the associated award of the Rasbash medal showcase the outstanding research carried out by key members of the fire community, and give us, as a sector and an Institution, a chance to celebrate them. Professor Simeoni has provided so much to the fire sector, his research and pioneering attitude includes research on wildland fires, looking at combustion, heat transfer and fire spread modelling. We’re delighted to honour Professor Simeoni and all his achievements at this esteemed event.”

You can watch the 2019 Rasbash Lecture in full here.