Obituaries - A

Obituaries - A

Marchioness of Aberdeen and Temair (June Beatrice Mary Gordon)

Throughout her long life, June Boissier, the Marchioness of Aberdeen and Temair, remained quintessentially the effective and hugely enthusiastic music teacher which she had once been, at the Bromley High School for Girls in the three years before the Second World War. As Marchioness she became chatelaine of the beautiful house of Haddo, near Ellon in Aberdeenshire, which since 1974 has been in the care of the National Trust for Scotland. She was musical director of the Haddo House Choral Society, now the Choral and Operatic Society, for 60 years. "What she is like as a Marchioness, I do not know," the late violinist Yfrah Neaman told me on a Parliamentary visit to the Guildhall School of Music. "What I do know is that at Bromley and subsequently she has been an inspirational leader and teacher of music." Read more about June Gordon
This obituary was first published in The Independent on 24 June 2009. Reproduced by permission of The Independent

Frank Alexander.

Frank Alexander was born on 18 March 1917, the son of Sydney Alexander, in Newtown, New Mills Cheshire, England, and attended Furness Vale Primary school, and then Buxton College School in Derbyshire from May 1927 to July 1935.He gained entry to the Royal (Dick) Veterinary College on the basis of the Northern Universities School Certificate. In December 1940 Frank Alexander gained his Membership of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (MRCVS) by direct diploma before the Dick Vet College became an integral part of the University of Edinburgh in 1951.Read more about Frank Alexander

Professor Sir Kenneth (John Wilson) Alexander

Kenneth Alexander was a man of his time:  academic, social scientist, political activist, businessman, administrator and statesman. In the turbulent years from 1950 to 2000, he was in the thick of it. Throughout, he was big enough to meet the challenges, to ride out the storms and to rise above the gratuitous jealousies, pettiness and crossfire that attend all men of action, especially academic men of action. Read more about Sir Kenneth Alexander

John Graham Comrie Anderson

Emeritus Professor J. Graham C. Anderson, who died at his home in Lisvane, Cardiff, on 20th February 2002, aged 91, was born in the Hillhead area of Glasgow on 26th April 1910, the son of Edmond Archibald Anderson, at that time an aerated water manufacturer, and Annie Maude Anderson, née Comrie. His mother was born in Rothesay, the daughter of James K. Comrie, a Glaswegian stockbroker, and his Irish-born wife Mary J. Comrie. The family lived in Cardiff before moving to Glasgow, but they also had a second home in Rothesay. His paternal grandfather was Secretary, i.e. General Manager, of the Callander and Oban Railway from its beginning until 1910. Read more about John Grahame Comrie Anderson

John Russell Anderson

Always known by his colleagues as JRA, he was born on 31st May 1918 in Middlesborough, the son of a Glasgow-trained general practitioner. He entered St. Andrew’s University with an open scholarship in 1936, proceeded to a BSc in Anatomy in 1939 and then graduated MB with Commendation in 1942. After house jobs in Dundee, he spent a year in laboratory medicine, six months of which were with Professor Daniel F Cappell in pathology. There followed three years of National Service in Ghana, Libya (where he first learned to sail) and Egypt as a pathologist with the rank of Captain in the Royal Army Medical Corps. In 1947 he was recruited to Glasgow as Lecturer in Pathology by Cappell, then Professor at the Western Infirmary. Read more about John Russell Anderson

Edward Raymond Andrew

Raymond Andrew was one of the first physicists in the UK to get involved with the technique of nuclear magnetic resonance (nmr), developed just after the second world war in the USA. His career in this subject spanned the years from 1948 until his death. His contributions included the development of the technique as a structural tool in organic solids, the invention of the magic-angle method of narrowing the resonance lines in solids, an understanding of the effects of the nuclear
quadrupole moment on both the static and dynamic aspects of nmr, and an early recognition and development of the application of the technique to biological studies. Read more about Edward Raymond Andrew

John Stuart Archer

John Archer was Principal and Vice-Chancellor of Heriot-Watt University from January 1997 until his retirement in July 2006. During Principal Archer’s tenure the University grew substantially with overall student numbers increasing by a third including a doubling of the number of postgraduate students. At the same time Heriot-Watt made considerable advances in research, became recognised as Scotland’s most international university with around thirty per cent of on-campus students from outside the UK, and achieved unparalleled numbers of off-campus students studying Heriot-Watt programmes in well over 100 countries. Read more about John Stuart Archer   

David Gilford Armstrong

David Armstrong was born in Whitley Bay on 9th July 1926 and died suddenly at his home in Ponteland, near Newcastle-upon-Tyne on 8th February 2000. The son of a bank clerk, David attended Whitley Bay Grammar School, before proceeding to study agricultural chemistry at Kings College, Durham University (later renamed Newcastle University). On graduating with an Honours Degree in 1946, followed by an MSc and a PhD in 1951, he stayed in Newcastle as a lecturer in agricultural chemistry before spending a year at the University of Illinois, USA, working with H H Mitchell. He then joined the staff of the Nutrition Department at the Hannah Research Institute in 1954 and over the following nine years, working with K L Blaxter (later Professor Sir Kenneth Blaxter FRS) and N Graham, he contributed substantially to present day understanding of the energy metabolism of farm animals. Indeed, their studies set many of the foundations for modern ruminant nutrition research. Read more about David Gilford Armstrong

Baron Ashby of Brandon

Lord Ashby was a scientist of distinction who applied to the problems of higher education, public concerns over pollution, and the relationships between science and society the same qualities of precise observation, lucid analysis and clear presentation that characterised his early work as a plant physiologist. Read more about Baron Ashby of Brandon

George Warburton Ashcroft

Professor George Ashcroft was deeply interested in the brain, and how and where it performs its multitude of functions. He was amongst the first to realise the potential of acquiring information which could lead to a greater understanding of brain malfunctions to help his patients, when I was struggling in the 1970s and onwards to set-up in Scotland – the first outside London – a facility to image radio-active isotopes from a cyclotron, now known as PET (positron emission tomography), which is now widely used. George became a real ally, and when this was finally achieved, he was the first to start using it. Unfortunately, the resolution which could be achieved at that time did not give sufficiently clear images to give meaningful results from his many attempts, which was a sore disappointment to us both. However, improvements in the imaging technology since then, and also the advent of functional MRIU (magetic resonance imaging) has led to many of the problems which were his goals, now being gainfully attacked. He was a real leader in his field, well ahead of his time. Read more about George Ashcroft

Frederick (Derick) Valentine Atkinson

Frederick (Derick) Valentine Atkinson, scholar, enthusiastic teacher and gifted researcher passed away on November 13, 2002, after a long illness, in Toronto, Canada. A native of Pinner, Middlesex in England he saw light on January 25, 1916, the elder son of George Arthur Atkinson and Dorothy Boxer. His father was a journalist and film critic for the Daily Telegraph; his mother’s grandfather was Admiral Lord Boxer, Harbourmaster of the City of Québec during the 19th Century. Atkinson read books about Calculus at age 12 and mathematics came easy to the young Derick. Read more about Frederick (Derick) Valentine Atkinson

James Robert Atkinson

James Atkinson was born in 1916 in Wallington, Surrey.  His father was an electrical engineer with the Post Office and his mother had been a schoolteacher until her marriage. Both parents regarded good education as essential for encouraging real interest in learning and thinking for oneself; as the youngest of the family of three (two elder sisters), James was, according to those sisters, given considerable freedom to develop his interests in electrical experiments.  One early and unfortunate outcome was that he decided to construct an arc lamp using the carbon rods from dry batteries: he did not, however, appreciate the importance of a series resistance with the result that not only did the main house fuse fail., but also the minor substation at the bottom of the road! Either as penance or reward, his father gave him full responsibility for the house fuses thereafter. Read more about James Atkinson

Sir John (William) Atwell

Sir John Atwell, who died on 5 July 1999, served continuously on the Council of the Royal Society of Edinburgh from 1974 to 1985 becoming successively Treasurer (where his sound knowledge of financial affairs put it on a very firm footing) and President during a period of fundamental change including a complete refurbishing of rooms, which owed much to his sure touch and sound judgement. Read more about Sir John Atwell

Charlotte Auerbach

Lotte Auerbach, who died on 17 March 1994, was born in Krefeld in 1899, the only daughter of Jewish parents. Her father was a physical chemist and her grandfather the discoverer of Auberbach's plexus in the human intestine. From her early introduction to biology at school, her interest was fostered by her father for whom the natural sciences became a passion. Her interest in the then still infant science of Genetics was kindled by a school lecture on the behaviour of the chromosomes at cell division which she later described as one of the truly spiritual experiences of her life. Her grandfather was similarly absorbed by the study of chromosomes to the extent that, as Lotte loved to relate, when on his honeymoon he left his young wife at their hotel while he visited the nearby university to discuss new developments. The discussion was so interesting that he forgot her entirely and accepted an invitation to dinner to continue talking. Fortunately forgiveness was granted and the marriage was a happy one or perhaps this account would not have been needed! Read more about Charlotte Auerbach


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