Dave Wilson was born and educated in Warwickshire, England. He first crossed the Atlantic in 1953, working his way to Canada in the engine room of a cargo boat. In 1955 he was awarded a post-doctoral Commonwealth-Fund fellowship for study and research at MIT and Harvard. After working in the turbine industry in Britain he taught for two years in Nigeria and worked briefly with the VSOs (the British precursor of the Peace Corps) in the Cameroons. For six years before coming to MIT he was technical director and vice president of NREC, a Massachusetts R&D organization.
At MIT Dave Wilson has taught engineering design, including turbomachinery design, and applied thermodynamics, and supervised research into power-and-propulsion topics and design areas. Since retiring in 1994 he has been interim head of the Office of Minority Education and faculty director of the MITES program: Minority Introduction to Engineering and Science.
In 2001 some MIT associates and he founded Wilson TurboPower Inc. to develop some highly efficient regenerators and turbines based on MIT patents . It ceased operation in 2009 but continued without Wilson’s involvement as Wilson SolarPower in 2010
Dave is a keen hiker and bicyclist.
The books he has authored or co-authored include:
Human-powered vehicles (with Allan Abbott)
Gas-turbine regenerators (with Doug Beck)
The design of high-efficiency turbomachinery and gas turbines (second edition with T. P. Korakianitis);
The design of gas-turbine engines
Health effects of fossil-fuel burning (with Richard Wilson et al)
Bicycling Science (three editions)
Handbook of solid-waste management
The treatment and management of urban solid waste.