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In memoriam: Brian Hope

In memoriam: Brian Hope

Brian Hope, MSc’59, PhD’62, Professor Emeritus, Civil Engineering, died June 15.

[In memoriam]
In Memoriam

Brian Bradshaw Hope

Brian Hope was a valued and active member of the Department of Civil Engineering at Queen’s for over 40 years. His dedication to both teaching and research helped build the strong department we still enjoy today. In his research, he was an international leader in the corrosion of reinforced concrete and his research findings were particularly invaluable to the Ministry of Transportation of Ontario.

Brian Hope grew up in England and graduated with a B.Sc. from the University of Manchester in 1957. He then continued his studies at Queen’s in the Department of Civil Engineering, completing a M.Sc. and then his Ph.D. in 1961. He was one of the first Ph.D. graduates from our department. He subsequently worked for Acres International in Niagara Falls until moving to the University of Calgary as an assistant professor in 1965. He returned to our department as a faculty member two years later.

Brian’s impact on the mitigation of corrosion in reinforced concrete was huge. Chloride-induced corrosion from de-icing salts is still the predominant mechanism for deterioration of our reinforced concrete infrastructure. To address this problem, Brian developed one of the first techniques for extracting chlorides from concrete. He was also one of the first researchers to link corrosion activity with the resistivity of concrete. This technique is now widely used to assess concrete structures in the field.

He also investigated the effectiveness of corrosion inhibitors and cathodic protection, and developed effective guidelines for practical applications of such methods. In particular, the Division Street Bridge in Kingston was the first bridge in Ontario to be protected with cathodic protection under Brian’s leadership. Cathodic protection essentially reverses the electrolytic corrosion cell and Brian’s research was profiled in New Scientist at the time (21 March 1985).

As a research collaborator, he successfully worked together with Prof. Carolyn Hansson from the Materials and Metallurgical Engineering Department at Queen’s (and subsequently the University of Waterloo).

I also benefitted immensely from his expertise and advice when I ventured into the corrosion area and we co-supervised two students. Brian also mentored and supported other junior colleagues in their early careers. In addition, he actively involved technicians in his research and treated them as colleagues. It was fitting that his cremation “urn” was made from concrete by one of our current technicians, Paul Thrasher.

Brian also excelled at teaching and was highly regarded by all his students. He was the first winner of the Engineering Society’s Golden Apple award in 1971 and repeated with a second award in 1992. His classroom style was open and accessible, and he enjoyed personal interactions with the students.  He always went above and beyond for his students. For example, he would welcome his graduate students into his home as part of his extended family, and some of his early graduate students recounted how he encouraged them to attend international conferences at a time when the department and his colleagues frowned upon such practice.

When I attended Brian’s memorial service in June, I was particularly impressed by the number of former students and colleagues who travelled long distances to attend. This was not surprising, however, because Brian was always very kind and compassionate with students and colleagues alike, and for that he was both admired and loved.

He will be greatly missed.

[Queen's Alumni Review 2015 Issue 4 cover]