Sir Barnes Neville Wallis (1887-1979) was an English Scientist, Engineer and Inventor most associated with the famous Dambusters raid of 1943; when the legendary ‘bouncing bomb’ that Wallis developed was used by the Royal Air Force 617 Squadron in Operation Chastise to destroy several of the dams in the Ruhr, Germany during the Second World War.
However, Wallis’ working life covered seven decades and put him at the forefront of aviation progress during that time. Wallis was responsible for the R80, one of the most beautiful of airships ever built, and the R100, one of the most successful. He introduced geodesics into aircraft design and developed the swing-wing Swallow with its variable wing sweep. Wallis’s life was not only centred around aeronautics and aerial warfare but also included significant contributions to medical science, education, maritime engineering, astronomy and other areas. Wallis participated in the development of radio telescopy and nuclear submarines, pioneered work in the de-icing of trawlers, and gave much time and money to educational advancement and to charity.
Established in 1986, the Barnes Wallis Foundation aims to inspire, inform and advance education in aeronautical and engineering design, drawing upon and in memory of, the life and work of Sir Barnes Wallis – a genius of our time.