Development & Alumni Relations Office 


Professor Aladdin Bahrani, MSc, PhD, DSc (died 8 July 2021, aged 91)


Obituary submitted by Aladdin’s daughter, Linda and is available online at 


My father, Aladdin Bahrani, who has died aged 91, spent many years working as a senior engineer in his birthplace, Iraq, before becoming professor of manufacturing engineering at Queen’s University in Belfast, where he had trained just after the Second World War.


The eldest of 10 children, he was born in Baghdad to Mohammed Saleem Bahrani, a landowner and farmer, and Bahija Abdul Hussan Al Shamma, a housewife. Once he had finished his schooling at Baghdad College, he left Iraq on a government scholarship to study engineering at Queen’s from 1948 to 1953, graduating with a science master’s and meeting a young Belfast woman, Margaret Sawrey, who became his wife in 1952.


After his studies, he took advantage of a Federation of British Industries scholarship (1955-57) that allowed him to gain practical experience working at two companies, Ruston and Hornsby, an industrial equipment manufacturer in Lincoln, and Metropolitan Vickers, a heavy electrical engineering business in Manchester.


Afterwards he went back to Iraq to become workshop manager, then chief marine and mechanical engineer, at the port of Basrah (1957-63), then retraced his steps to Belfast to take up a post as an assistant lecturer at Queen’s (1963-65).


He had a further spell in Iraq, first as senior engineer at Iraq Petroleum (1967-69) and then as chief engineer at Iraq National Oil (1969-70), before spending the rest of his working life at Queen’s as a Senior Lecturer (1970-77), a Reader (1977-83) and finally a Professor (1983-91). His specialist knowledge was in the use of explosive welding techniques and the mechanics of friction welding. He was awarded the Welding Institute’s Brooker medal in 1992 for his outstanding contributions in the field, and was elected a Fellow of the RSA in 1990.


Aladdin’s lecturing work took him to the US, the Soviet Union and many parts of Europe, and he spent six months in 1982 working for the United Nations at the Bharat Heavy Electricals company in Tiruchirappalli, India. There he fell under India’s spell and developed a lasting affection for its people.


He was a gifted and enthusiastic teacher and an advocate for increasing the number of women coming into engineering, using his influence as a board member of North Down College of Education and Belfast College of Technology to encourage more female students to take up engineering as a profession.


He loved nothing more than to walk around new places and cities, often forgoing sleep if time was limited; soaking in the culture, the people and the atmosphere. He had a true spirit of adventure and a thirst for knowledge.


Margaret died in 2017. He is survived by his children, me (Linda) and David, four grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.


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