Barnes Wallis and the ripple effect


Four graphic design students from Northumbria University have been working on an exhibition project about Barnes Wallis as part of their degree course. I am sure that readers will agree with me that the images they have produced are very interesting and effective, and would grace the walls of any gallery if one could be found to take it on.
The exhibition is entitled ‘Ducks & Drakes’ and, in the creators’ words, portrays Wallis’s struggles with his conscience ‘after an innocent idea of skimming stones inspired him to create the Bouncing Bomb which had a devastating impact on the German Dams of WW2. The exhibition aims to immerse the viewer into the inner psychological feelings of Barnes Wallis. It does by making the walkways wider in times of happiness and narrower when Barnes struggled with his conscience.’


You can see the full exhibition here.
The students are Patrick Pyka, Ashley Sowerby, Shaun Okoh and Megan Anderson.

4 thoughts on “Barnes Wallis and the ripple effect

  1. Hugh Grant January 6, 2017 / 4:23 pm

    Saw Barnes Wallace lecture @ Royal Society around 1964
    Introduced/explained his vertical take-off swing wing jet fighter design.
    Upset the UK Government had lost interest in the idea and noted he might have to take it to the US
    As we know that happened with great success
    People thought he was all about the dambusters bomb but B-W was far more than that
    Great privilege to see him in the flesh

    • Anthony (Tony) Knight January 7, 2017 / 10:50 am

      Indeed, Sir Barnes working life extended to some 76 years, being more or less forced to retire at the age of 82 he continued designing and working at home until the last few years of his long life. He approached the Americans for funding, taking a team out to NASA’s Langley Fields in the early 60’s. They didn’t give him his funding but effectively pinched his swing wing ideas by incorporating them into the F-111 but using a tail in the design against Wallis’s ideas. For a man with his pedigree he was poorly treated by the establishment during his final working years. Sadly has vision was too far and too great for the state resources that were all but bankrupt.

  2. Tony Knight January 7, 2017 / 8:21 am

    Not sure what happened to my original post ? Try again!

    This looks like an excellent montage of Dambuster photographs and information. I can’t see all of the detail but one comment I’d make is that the photograph of the marble experiment on the patio of Barnes Wallis’s house is an actual photograph and not from the film. The gentleman in the background is I believe the family doctor.

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