25 Mar 2010 - Obituary for Professor Helen Muir OBE
Cranfield University is deeply saddened by the loss of Professor Helen Muir OBE who passed away over the weekend.
Helen, the Professor of Aerospace Psychology and former Head of the Department of Human Factors died following a three-month battle with cancer on 20 March.
During her 26 years at Cranfield, she became internationally renowned as a world leader in passenger safety with many of her findings influencing the design of aircraft today and resulting in safer air travel.
Twice named by The Independent as one of “10 Britons who shaped our world”, Helen and her research team were the first to reproduce human behaviour in crash situations. In 2006, this work was recognised by Universities UK as one of the best 100 discoveries and developments in UK universities in the last 50 years that changed the world.
Trained as a Chartered Psychologist, Helen joined Cranfield University as a lecturer in 1984. She became Professor of Aerospace Psychology and the Head of the Department of Human Factors in 1993, was appointed Dean of Engineering from 1995-1998 and Pro-Vice-Chancellor in 1999-2002.
Helen served on a range of committees associated with human performance. She was a Fellow and Council Member of the Royal Aeronautical Society and established the Human Factors Group within the Society. She was the UK representative on the committee of the European Association of Aviation Psychologists and a member of the UK Human Factors National Advisory Committee. She was an independent member of the Civil Aviation Authority’s Airworthiness Committee Requirements Board and was one of three independent advisors who reported to the Director General of the Health and Safety Executive on the research activities of the Health and Safety Laboratories.
Helen received numerous awards for her work into safety, including an OBE in 1993. She became the first psychologist to receive The B W O Townshend Award from the Royal Aeronautical Society and in 1998 she was awarded the first Roger Green Medal by the Society. She also received the Award of Excellence in Cabin Safety from the Southern California Safety Institute.
A keen horse rider, Helen followed her love for horses throughout her life. She competed at British Eventing and achieved her ambition of wearing top hat and tails in dressage at Prix St George’s level.
Helen married her husband Jim Turvey in 2004.
Professor Sir John O’Reilly, Vice-Chancellor of Cranfield University: “Helen was an outstanding individual; she will be sorely missed by all at Cranfield and her many colleagues and friends across the world.
Professor Philip John, Head of the Department of Systems Engineering and Human Factors, said: “She was a wonderful colleague and had an unrivalled international reputation in her field.”
For further information please contact: Naomie Stanford-Jones, Media Relations Manager, Cranfield University, tel: +44 (0) 1234 754999
Cranfield Media Centre:
- Media Centre
- Press releases
- Hitting the headlines
- About Cranfield
- Facts and figures
- Visual identity
- Media contacts