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Patrick Fleming, who died on the 4th of July 1998, was a man respected alike for his professionalism and his other cultural pursuits.
Pat was a true Dubliner, coming from the North Circular Road area.
He was born in January 1938 and received a Leaving Certificate from O'Connell's c.B.S. in 1956 and a bachelor's degree in Mechanical Engineering from University College Dublin in 1961. Graduate apprenticeship at Parsons-Reyrolle, Durham (England) qualified him for chartered membership of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers.
He returned to Ireland in 1964 to work with the Electricity Supply Board (ESB) with responsibility for operation of power stations, including peat-fired ones in the midlands. He earned a number of additional degrees and credentials in engineering over the years, as he moved from the ESB to the Small Industries Division of the Industrial Development Authority, to the Northern Ireland Polytechnic at Jordanstown, and then on to the Institute for Industrial Research and Standards.
Following bypass surgery in 1979, Pat joined the Standards division of IIRS (now the National Standards Authority of Ireland), working particularly on standards for the gas industry and European standards for liquified petroleum gas appliances.
Fleming had a number of cultural and scientific interests in addition to his engineering and standards expertise, principally in the areas of the origins of man and ancient civilization and of theoretical and experimental physics. His last presentation on the origin of mankind was a paper at a conference in Tucson called "towards a science of consciousness." Pat was particularly concerned with the Irish connections of scientific theories, and had written on Schroedinger's sojourn in Dublin between 1939 and 1956. His other especial interests were in modern theories of relativity and quantum mechanics, and he published a June 1998 paper in the Engineers Journal concluding that photon behavior could best be explained by non-zero rest mass. It was Fleming's interest in these topics in physics that had led him to join the Royal Astronomical Society and Astronomy Ireland some time ago and, more recently, the AAS as an associate member. He also enjoyed hill walking, making amateur videos, and practising spoken German. He is survived by his sister Lily and an extended family, and his scientific papers are in their custody.
Photo courtesy of The National Standards Authority of Ireland, http://www.nsai.ie.
Obituary written by: I. J. Cowan (National Standards Authority of Ireland)
BAAS Citation: BAAS, 1999, 31, 1599
SAO/NASA ADS Bibcode: 1999BAAS...31.1599C