M'Pherson, Philip Keith 1927 - 2016


Philip Keith M’Pherson was a systems engineer and professor that developed the Inclusive Value Methodology. He was born in London in 1927 and attended Oxford University. Between 1952 and 1954 he was head of a gyrostablilisation unit in the Naval Ordnance Department. In 1954 he would attend the Massachusetts Institute of Technology studying a Science Master’s course. As part of this, he would work on inertial guidance systems in the Instrumentation Laboratory. During this time, he was still a serving naval officer and when he completed the course he returned to Britain. He would continue to work on the research and development of gyrodynamics and was posted to the Admiralty Gunnery Establishment at Portland in November 1955.

In May 1959 he would retire from the Navy and would then be appointed to the UK Atomic Energy Authority. His initial work would be undertaken at the Atomic Energy Research Establishment at Harwell. He would then move to the Control and Instrumentation Division at the Atomic Energy Establishment at Winfrith in August 1959. Here he would be involved in the development of reliable and safe control systems and would form the Dynamics Group, one of the first groups of professional dynamitists and control engineers.

In 1965 M’Pherson would be appointed as the first engineering fellow at St John’s College, Oxford. The first he knew about this was the announcement of his appointment was published in The Times. Despite this, he would leave the UKAEA and became a lecturer in the Department of Engineering Science in October. Despite the fact, he was able to strengthen the Control Science side of the department and work on computer-aided Dynamics Analysis and System Design he would resign after only two years in post.

In 1967 he was appointed to another academic position, this time at The City University, where he would work to develop what would become the Department of Systems Science. This made a great deal of use of multi-disciplinary research groups and developed Systems as a subject. He also helped to establish an inter-disciplinary degree course. In 1976 he spend a year in Austria at the International Institute of Applied Systems Analysis where he worked on Dynamics and Modelling of Technological Change. In 1980 he would travel to China to lecture on large scale systems engineering. A year later he would become Pro-Vice-Chancellor of The City University.

In 1987 M’Pherson retired and returned to freelance work on value calculus. He worked to develop a mathematical and logical basis for value measurement. This would become the Inclusive Value Methodology.

In 2016 Philip K M’Pherson would die in Ely.