Updated 12 November 2021


Leslie Philip (Les) Pook was born in Middlesex, England in 1935. He obtained a BSc in metallurgy from the University of London in 1956. He started his career at Hawker Siddeley Aviation Ltd, Coventry in 1956. In 1963 he moved to the National Engineering Laboratory, East Kilbride, Glasgow. In 1969, while at the National Engineering Laboratory, he obtained a PhD in mechanical engineering from the University of Strathclyde. Dr Pook moved to University College London in 1990. He retired formally in 1998 but remained professionally active in the fields of metal fatigue and fracture mechanics. From 1998 to 2009 he was affiliated to University College London as a visiting professor. He now has more tine to pursue long standing interests in recreational mathematics, including flexagons, and in horology, especially synchronous electric clocks. He is a Fellow of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, a Fellow of the Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining, and a Fellow of the European Structural Integrity Society. Les married his wife Ann in 1960. They have a daughter, Stephanie, and a son, Adrian. Ann passed away in 2015.


8 Responses to “Biography”

  1. Alan Cox Says:

    Good Morning Les
    You obviously have a wide knowledge of Smiths Clocks and Watches Does this include time switches and, if so, would you be prepared to help me to learn more about an example that I recently acquired, please?
    I was intrigued to see the reference to flexagons. I tried to remember where I first came across them and I think it must have been in Rouse Ball’s book.
    Kind regards Alan Cox

  2. Les Pook Says:

    Alan, I know of two Smith time switches. One is the Smith ‘Prestwick’ clock, date 1950, which is intended to turn a radio on and off to act as an alarm. This is illustrated on my website. The other is a central heating controller which was in a house we lived in from 1973 to 1982. This was fitted with a self starting Smith Bijou movement which had the unfortunate habit of sometimes running backwards following a power interruption.

  3. Michael Taylor Says:

    I have a TEMCO clock which I cannot identify against the photos on your site. Can you help?

  4. Les Pook Says:

    Sorry, I can’t help.

  5. Amelia Says:

    Hello Les,

    I am a grade 12 IB student doing research for my extended essay, and I came across your book “Flexagons Inside Out.” I am very interested in your research and insights regarding flexagons and I would love to be able to learn from and cite your work. Unfortunately, I cannot afford to buy this book, and I cannot access it through my local library.

    If possible, would you be able to provide a digital copy of the book?

    I am particularly interested in chapter 7, if you are unable to provide access to the entire book.

    I would be extremely grateful if you would be able to do this.

    I hope you have a fantastic day!


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