We are deeply saddened to announce the recent passing of Dr Enrico Mastropaolo, who died in hospital on the 15th of July 2019.
Enrico started as a Lecturer in the School of Engineering in April 2013 and was promoted to Senior Lecturer in 2019. After his Laurea degree in micro-electronics engineering (University of Padua, 2006), he obtained the Ph.D. degree in microsystems and microfabrication in our School (2011), working in the Institute for Integrated Micro and Nano Systems. He was then a post-doc in the School before his Lectureship appointment. He worked particularly closely with Rebecca Cheung and Anthony Walton.
His research focus was on microelectromechanical systems (MEMS), their design, simulation, fabrication, and characterisation, with a special interest in transduction techniques and the dynamics of microstructures. Latterly, he worked on polymer-based structures and the interaction of micro and small-scale structures with fluid flows, along with Khelil Sefiane. His research, therefore, spanned Electronic, Mechanical and Chemical Engineering, with profound impact.Possibly one of the most significant contribution of Enrico to engineering has been the Nature paper: A separated vortex ring underlies the flight of the dandelion, Nature 2018;562:414-418Here, Enrico played a key role in the development of new manufacturing techniques that allowed the first ever replica of a dandelion to be built and tested in a wind tunnel, and hence a new way of flight to be revealed.
Enrico’s teaching affiliation was with Mechanical Engineering, where he lectured students from several years in Dynamics, as well as supervising many final-year projects. He played a full role in the management of the Discipline, participating in the Discipline Committee and several subcommittees, including the Academic and Resource Allocation Committees.
Comment from Hugh McCann, former Head of School: “As HoS from March 2013 until July 2018, I found that Enrico was a delight to work with, and he worked very hard and very enthusiastically on both teaching and research, showing great creativity and innovative flair in both areas. Students and staff alike appreciated greatly his commitment and the time that he put into communicating with them and supporting them. To my eyes, he didn’t allow his illness to diminish his passion for engineering, and he didn’t complain about his situation. But, of course, it already meant that he had to have major hospitalised health support more than once in recent years. Even so, the sense of loss of a colleague so young and vital is deep and distressing.”
As Director of Mechanical Engineering, and latterly as Head of School, I worked closely with Enrico on a number of projects and courses, and co-taught a 3rd Year Mechanical Engineering course with him in 2017/18. He was a generous colleague to work with, a very conscientious course organiser and lecturer, and was well appreciated by students. He never sought any allowances for his health problems. He had hoped, and we all thought that he had turned the corner in his illness, which was unfortunately not the case. Together with other colleagues, I collaborated with him on some interdisciplinary and innovative research proposals, using novel sensors for structural health monitoring of composite materials. Some of these projects are only now starting. His colleagues in Mechanical Engineering, in IMNS and the SMC, in the rest of our School, and in other parts of the University will feel his tragic loss sorely, compounded by a feeling that the real potential and impact of his work was yet to be realised.
Enrico’s funeral will be held in his hometown of Padua, Italy, on Thursday 18th of July at 10.30am at San Carlo Church.
Enrico will be remembered at the 5.15pm mass on Thursday at St. Albert’s Catholic Chapel, 23 -24 George Square, Edinburgh. The staff of the University Chaplaincy are also available for anyone that feels the need to contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org or at email@example.com
We have opened a Book of Condolences at the Engineering Teaching Office, where staff and students may record their memories and feelings about Enrico. The book will be passed to Enrico’s family at a future date.
To his wife, Annalisa, his parents and family, we express our deepest condolences on their sad and tragic loss. May he rest in peace.
Professor Conchúr Ó Brádaigh
Head of School