I was born in Llanfairfechan in North Wales and attended Friars Grammar School in Bangor. As a youngster I was always taking things apart to see how they worked (and occasionally put them back together in such a way that they carried on working). This interest in things practical, together with an apparent ability in mathematics and physics in school led me towards a career in mechanical engineering. I began my engineering career as a trainee with the UK Ministry of Defence in 1973. I obtained my Bachelor (1977) and PhD (1982) degrees in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Wales at Cardiff. I joined the academic staff at Liverpool in 1983 when I took up a lecturing post in Mechanical Engineering. I rose through the ranks to become a Professor in 1997 and soon afterwards became the Head of the Department of Engineering before being appointed as Dean of the Faculty in 2002, a post that I held until 2008. My research background is in the general area of fluid mechanics and heat transfer where I’ve published some 120 papers, and have supervised 25 or so PhD students.