Samuel Haughton Lecture 2006

27/01/2006 in Clybaun Hotel, Galway

Theoretical modelling in bioengineering

David Taylor, PhD, ScD, CEng, FIEI, Trinity Centre for Bioengineering, Mechanical Engineering Department, Trinity College Dublin, Dublin


This paper is concerned with the role of theoretical modelling in bioengineering research. The subject matter was delivered as the 12th annual Haughton Lecture, presented on 28 January 2006 at the Bioengineering in Ireland Conference in Galway. The title of the lecture was “Telling Stories About Bone”. The paper begins with some general remarks about what constitutes a scientific theory, and it moves on to a discussion about where ideas for theoretical models come from, taking examples from my own work on the mechanical strength and fracture of bone. I conclude with some advice to budding theoreticians.


Bioengineering is a subject which has grown beyond recognition during the last two decades. Today the amount of work being done in Ireland is enormous. There is a major medical device industry and excellent funding opportunities for fundamental research and product development. More importantly the quality of our work is giving us a worldwide reputation; individuals are winning awards at conferences and taking senior positions in the international bioengineering societies. In Ireland we are certainly ‘punching above our weight’ on the international scene.

Theoretical modelling in bioengineering

This being the twelfth Samuel Haughton Lecture since its beginnings in 1995.

Meeting chaired by Peter McHugh

Bronze Medal Winners: Niamh Nowlan (TCD) & Alun Carr (UCD) – Joint Award