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Professor David Whitehouse

Academic profile photograph

Professor David Whitehouse

Emeritus Professor
BSc (Bristol), PhD (Leicester), DSc (Warwick)

David dot J dot Whitehouse1 at outlook dot com

The Equation of the Mean Line of Surface Texture found by an Electric Wave Filter book cover


Professor David Whitehouse is acknowledged to be a world authority on surface and nanometrology and analytical metrology applied to manufacture. He has a B.Sc. in Physics, a Ph.D. in Surface Tribology, and a D.Sc. in Analytical Metrology (The first D.Sc awarded by the University of Warwick).

Since the early 1960s he has been instrumental in introducing analytical and digital techniques into all aspects of manufacturing. ‘The Equation of the Mean Line of Surface Texture found by an Electric Wave Filter’ is the first analytical and digital book published anywhere of this new innovative approach to manufacturing quality control combining very different disciplines!

Handbook of Surface Metrology book cover

His extensive publications comprise of eight books including, as well as the mean line book mentioned above, the definitive ‘Handbook of Surface Metrology’ and the ‘Handbook of Surface and Nanometrology’ Handbook of Surface and Nanometrology book cover He has published over 200 technical papers and has been awarded 28 patents. Over 50% of all these technical publications have been written by himself alone demonstrating his pioneering position in the field. In 2022 his publication record, according to Google Scholar, has 10,000 citations with an ‘h index’ of 42 and ‘i10 index’ of 100.


He completed a three-year Postgraduate Apprenticeship at a Wolverhampton firm, Contactor Switchgear, making high voltage control equipment, after graduating with an honour’s degree in Physics from Bristol University in 1958. The next 20 years of his career was spent in industry including 10 years as Chief Research Engineer at Taylor Hobson Ltd, UK; the world famous ultra-precision instrument company in Leicester. During this time at Taylor Hobson he studied, in his own time, for a PhD which he obtained at Leicester University after 3 years in 1970. One of the papers, based on this PhD work was the first of his 12 papers published in the Royal Society.

After the period in industry, he spent 23 years as Full Professor at the University of Warwick UK, first as Professor of Mechanical Engineering and later as Professor of Engineering Science. For the last five years he was Chief Scientist. During this time, he was responsible for developing both the Mechanical Engineering and the Production Engineering Divisions in the Department of Engineering as well as fulfilling his duties on University Council and Senate. He has supervised more than 30 Ph.D. students.

Nanotechnology  journal cover

In 1979 he started the first ‘Centre for Micro- Engineering and Metrology’ in the UK Funded by SRC. This attracted over £2M from 1980-1990.

In 1990 he initiated the world’s first Journal of Nanotechnology (Institute of Physics UK), and its first Editor in Chief. This journal ‘Nanotechnology’ has recently celebrated its 25th Anniversary and has an impact factor of 4. It is published weekly. He is also a joint Founder, in 2002, of the Chinese Journal of Nanotechnology and Precision Engineering based in Tianjin PR China.

Cover of article celebrating 25 years of Nanotechnology journal

Currently, he is Emeritus Professor of Engineering Science at the University of Warwick UK, Consultant Professor at the University of Harbin, P R China, Visiting Professor at the University of Tianjin, P R China and Visiting Professor at the Centre for Precision Technologies University of Huddersfield UK.

He has also been Visiting Professor at the Technical University of Norway, at Trondheim, the University of Bremen, Germany and the Technical University of Vienna in Austria.


Accepting award of an honorary D Sc. from the University of Huddersfield when Patrick Stewart was Chancellor

He has lectured in over 40 countries and has received many honours including the Joseph Whitworth Prize (Inst. Mech. E.), The James Clayton Prize (Inst. Mech. E.), the Commemorative Medallion Mendeleev Institute of Metrology St Petersburg (then Leningrad), Russia, the Callendar Prize ‘For Outstanding Contribution to Metrology’ from the Institute of Measurement and Control and in 1986 he was awarded a five year Research Professor Senior Fellowship by the SERC UK research body. He has in 2012 also been conferred with the world class General Pierre Nicolau Medal and Award by the International Academy of Production Engineering (CIRP) based in Paris. He has also been awarded an honorary D Sc. From the University of Huddersfield when Patrick Stewart was Chancellor.

In 2022 he was given a ‘WOW’ award - one of only three up to now ever awarded.- by the University of Warwick in recognition for promoting the interests of Warwick University by international lectures and activities worldwide and disseminating his lifetime expertise. He has also been recognized in this for advising younger academics on publications in high ranking journals and encouraging women into science and engineering.

Lifetime Achievement Award for World Class Metrology image

He has three lifetime achievement honours, one in the UK: a Lifetime Achievement Award for World Class Metrology: ‘Champion of Metrology’ from the National Physical Laboratory.

Image of Lifetime Achievement Award for a long and distinguished career from the American Society of Precision Engineers

The second from the USA: a lifetime Achievement Award for a long and distinguished career from the American Society of Precision Engineers which in the citation described Professor Whitehouse as the ‘Father of digital metrology’.

Image of General Nicolau Award

The third is from CIRP in France. This is the long term attribute of the General Nicolau Award conferred in 2012 for ‘Significant and Distinguished Scientific Contributions to the field of Production Engineering’. This was the first time this Award - regarded as the Premier Award in Production Engineering in the world- has been awarded to a Briton.

Selected Publications

Projects and Grants


Fellow of the UK Institute of Physics (F Inst P); Fellow of the International Academy of Production Engineering (FCIRP); Charter Member of the American Society of Precision Engineering; Fellow of the Institution of Engineering and Technology (FIET); Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, Manufacture and Commerce (FRSA).

Senior Member of the Chinese Mechanical Engineering Society, Hon Member Japanese Society of Precision Engineers. Fellow of European Society of Precision Engineers (EUSPEN). Previous Fellow of the UK Institutions of Electrical and Production Engineers. He is a Chartered Physicist and Engineer.


In the UK he has been a consultant to Rolls Royce, Taylor Hobson, 3M(UK) and the Atomic Weapons Research Establishment, Aldermaston. In the USA a consultant to Kodak, Unilever, General Motors, Caterpillar Tractor, and the Bardon Corporation. In Japan to Toshiba. In Germany to UBM Metrology and to the Ministry of Technology of Singapore. He has also been an ‘Expert Witness’ for the Ministry of Defence UK on two occasions.