Obituaries - B

Obituaries - B

Sir James Baddiley

Jim Baddiley was born in Manchester, descended on his father's side from a farming family, and was one of four children. His father, also James, had broken with family tradition and become a scientist, an industrial organic chemist, who for many years was director of research of ICI Dyestuffs in Blackley, Manchester. Jim attended Manchester Grammar School, with no specialisation until the sixth form, and he has said that his family life was very happy with no academic pressures on him. Read more about Sir James Baddiley

Terence George Baker

Professor Terry Baker was the son of George William John Baker of Lymington, Hants and Eugenia, née Bristow. He was born on 27 May 1936 and was educated at Coventry Technical Secondary School and the University College of North Wales, Bangor where he obtained his BSc. He got his PhD at the University of Birmingham and his DSc at the University of Edinburgh. He also obtained an honorary Doctorate from the University of Ulster in June 2002 and another from Universiti Kebangsaan, Malaysia in August 2003. He married Pauline, his childhood sweetheart, and daughter of Alfred Archer on 23 August 1958. He had 3 sons, Paul Stephen born in 1960, Noel Terence in 1961 and Martin Christopher in 1966. Read more about Terence George Baker

Margaret Barnes

Margaret Barnes was originally trained as a chemist (as was her husband Harold Barnes, FRSE, who died in 1978) yet they became two of the most prominent marine biologists of the post-war years. Not only were they leading authorities on the biology of barnacles, they were also the founding editors of two marine science journals of high international repute. Harold was publishing before the war, but after marrying in 1945 their collaboration, both scientific and editorial, became so close it is difficult to separate the relative contributions that they made to marine science. Read more about Margaret Barnes

Sir Derek (Harold Richard) Barton

Sir Derek Barton’s sudden death in his 80th year, on 16 March 1998, ended the still-active career of the most distinguished British organic chemist of his generation. An account that did even scant justice to his achievements would require the space of a biography. Here it must suffice to illustrate briefly his multifarious contributions to organic chemistry and to commemorate the lasting influence of a remarkable man on the great body of former students and colleagues. Read more about Sir Derek (Harold Richard) Barton

Ivor Ralph Campbell Batchelor

Professor Emeritus Sir Ivor Batchelor died on 24 April at the age of 88. He was born in Edinburgh, the son of an Edinburgh physician, on 29 November 1916, was educated at Edinburgh Academy and Edinburgh University and graduated MB ChB in 1940. During the war he served as a neuropsychiatrist in the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve, with the rank of squadron leader, and on that experience was based his co-authorship of Aviation Neuropsychiatry in 1945. From 1947 to 1956 he was assistant physician and then deputy physician superintendent at the Royal Edinburgh Hospital under Professor Sir David Henderson. The two men became firm friends and Sir David’s example and broad approach to psychiatry were a major influence in Sir Ivor’s early career. During this period he and a psychiatric social worker published a series of papers on attempted suicide, leading to his election as a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh. (Excerpt posted with the permission of the Royal College of Psychiatrists - Published in The Psychiatrist (2005) 29: 439 doi: 10.1192/pb.29.11.439 ) - Read more about Sir Ivor Batchelor.

Geoffrey Herbert Beale

Geoffrey Beale was recognized internationally as a leading protozoan geneticist with an all-absorbing love of genetics, stimulated in the early part of his career by either working with or meeting many of the key figures who laid the foundations of modern genetics in the 1930s and 1940s. His work on the genetics of the surface antigens of Paramecium provided a conceptual breakthrough in our understanding of the role of the environment, the cytoplasm and the expression of genes, and he continued his interest in the role of cytoplasmic elements in heredity through studies on both the endosymbionts and mitochondria of Paramecium. He pioneered the genetic analysis of parasitic protozoa with his work on Plasmodium, and this stimulated many other scientists to take a genetic approach with these experimentally challenging organisms. Read more about Geoffrey Beale

Arthur James Beattie

Arthur James Beattie, Emeritus Professor of Greek at Edinburgh University, died after a short illness on 20 February 1996, aged 81. He was born in Belize, British Honduras, on 28 June 1914, son of a mahogany buyer, but his family moved to Scotland on the outbreak of war, when his father enlisted in the army. He was brought up Montrose where he attended the local Academy, and he retained a great affection for the town during his life. Going on then to Aberdeen University, he graduated MA with first class honours in Classics in 1935, and proceeded from there to Sidney Sussex College Cambridge, where he gained a first class in both parts of the Classical Tripos examination. Read more about Arthur James Beattie

Professor John Beck

Professor John Beck who died on 29 January 2007, was a distinguished academic pathologist who contributed much to the clinical practice of diagnostic pathology, to medical education both at the under- and post-graduate level and to medical research throughout a long career spanning more than 50 years. He was part of a small group of medical scientists in Scotland in the second half of the last century whose influence on the development of their specialty was far reaching and spread worldwide. His passion and enthusiasm for his many interests and his boundless energy were truly infectious for those who knew him and worked with him, and remained undiminished until the end of his life. Read more about John Swanson Beck

Cecil Arnold Beevers

The death of Dr C. Arnold Beevers, Reader Emeritus in Crystallography at the University of Edinburgh on 16 January 2001 was the passing of a great man, who was scientist, teacher, inventor, humanitarian and humorist in a rare combination. He was born in Manchester on 27th May 1908, but his family moved shortly afterwards to Liverpool, a city of which he was always proud. He obtained a B.Sc in Physics from the University of Liverpool in 1929, and a D.Sc in 1933. While there he was greatly influenced by Professor Lionel Wilberforce, whose well-designed springs and clamps Arnold never tired of demonstrating Read more about Cecil Arnold Beevers

Ronald Percy Bell

Ronnie Bell was a small quiet man always seen in a characteristic pair of wire spectacles often matched by a sizeable Havana; he was a most distinguished physical chemist and scientist. Born 24th November 1907 he attended Maidenhead County Boys' School before going up to Balliol to read Chemistry in 1924. After graduating in 1928, taking the Gibbs Prize for the best performance in Finals, he moved to Copenhagen, working with J N Bronsted before returning to Balliol as a Fellow in 1933. He then spent more than thirty years at Balliol, firstly as Fellow then as Tutor for Admissions, Senior Fellow and Vice-Master. Read more about Ronald Percy Bell

John Berry

John Berry, the longest serving Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, died in February 2002 at the age of 94. He was the son of a Fife landed family, and his father, William, an Edinburgh advocate, was deeply involved in the early stages of bird protection and nature conservation in Scotland, to which John Berry came ultimately to devote his life. He was born into a very different world from ours. In 1907, there was no electricity in the family home at Tayfield, and there was to be none for several decades. There were no pine trees on Tentsmuir, where he roamed as a boy and accompanied his father on shooting and natural history trips. There were no votes for women, but Miss Baxter and Miss Rintoul, friends of the family, were laying the foundations of the modern knowledge of birds in Scotland, and persuaded the Berrys to shoot any bird for them on Tentsmuir that they could not otherwise identify. There was no such thing as Town and Country Planning, but that extraordinary polymath Patrick Geddes, father of town planning, came over from University College, Dundee, for tea and taught little John botany on Tayfield lawn. Read more about John Berry

Sir James Black

Sir James Black invented the first modern blood-pressure drug, propranolol, and the first modern ulcer drug, cimetidine, which rank among the most important medical advances of the 20th century, having saved countless lives and abolished overnight the need for ulcer surgery. Sir Michael Rawlins, chairman of the National Institute for Clinical Excellence, regarded Black as "the greatest drug-hunter of the 20th century. Not only did he develop two entirely novel classes of drug, beta-blockers and H2 antagonists, which had a major impact; but he also introduced a unique approach to drug discovery by using agonists as the starting point for the development of specific antagonists." Read more about Sir James Black. This obituary was first Published in The Independent on 24 March 2010. Reproduced with permission from The Independent.

Matthew Black

Matthew Black was born at Kilmarnock on 3rd September 1908 and died at St Andrews on 2nd October 1994. He was educated at Kilmarnock Academy and at the University of Glasgow, where he took a First in Classics and a Second in Mental Philosophy and was awarded a distinction in his BD. He went on to the University of Bonn in the 1930s, was a pupil of Paul Kahle, whom he later describes as 'the doyen of European orientalists', and collected his first doctorate in 1937. It is evident that Kahle exercised a decisive influence on the young Matthew Black and inspired him at an early stage of his development as he acknowledges in the preface of Rituale Melchitarum: A Christian-Palestinian Euchologion (1938), his Bonn thesis. Nor does he forget in the same preface his indebtedness to Professor W B Stevenson who had taught him Hebrew and Aramaic at Glasgow and whose Assistant he had been. Stevenson's grammar of Palestinian-Jewish Aramaic (1924) is a reminder that the foundations of Black's scholarship were laid in Glasgow. Read more about Matthew Black

Brian John Bluck

Brian Bluck was born on the 29th of August 1935 into a working class family living in Pyle, nr Bridgend, South Wales. Brian’s father was a miner and a rope-smith at Newlands Colliery, South Wales, and was a great influence on his early education. After studies at Bridgend County Grammar School and at Cardiff Technical College, he was initially attracted towards politics. However, growing up amongst the coal mines and the fossiliferous Carboniferous limestones of South Wales, Brian was drawn towards geology and he applied to University College, Swansea for a place in their Geology Department. After a “difficult” interview, he was accepted onto the geology course and graduated in 1958. Read more about Brian Bluck

Keith Boddy

Keith Boddy was an exceptional medical physicist: his achievements ranged widely, but above all, he was a personality who was for most people, once met - never forgotten.  His career started in radiation safety, an interest that continued for the rest of his life, but his work developed over many other areas.  By the time he retired he was a celebrity within medical physics, recognised internationally as a very significant leader. With his passing, from cancer at age 72, Medical Physics  lost a great leader, a colourful personality and a true statesman. Read more about Keith Boddy.

Frank Featherstone Bonsall

Frank Bonsall made an enormous impact on mathematics in North Britain, especially in research and graduate education.  Quietly and self-effacingly, he influenced a generation of young mathematicians with the elegance and lucidity of his written and oral expositions, both of his own research and that of others.  The quality of his caring and thorough research supervision was reflected in his many PhD students who continued in research.  Read more about Frank Bonsall

Stanley Hay Umphray Bowie

Stanley Bowie was one of the most outstanding Assistant Directors of the Institute of Geological Sciences (IGS) (now the British Geological Survey, BGS) of the last fifty years. Not only was he a scientist of international standing himself, but he also established and led the highly successful Geochemical Division of the IGS, which became a model for similar divisions in Geological Surveys throughout the world. He and his staff made major contributions in isotope geology, fluidinclusion
studies, trace-element geochemistry (including high-resolution geochemical mapping), ore mineralogy, economic geology and analytical chemistry. The first inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometer was developed by Alan Gray of the University of Surrey and Alan Date in the IGS with funding from the European Commission, negotiated by Stanley Bowie. Read more about Stanley Hay Umphray Bowie

William Cameron Bowman

The British Pharmacological Society lost one of its luminaries on Thursday, 18th July 2013, with the death of Bill Bowman. Bill’s health had deteriorated since a stroke in London a couple of years ago. After a very lengthy stay in hospitals in London and Dumfries, he managed to get home to Rockcliffe on the Solway Firth which held so many happy memories for him. His daughter Alison and son Ewen told us that over the past few months, and particularly the last few weeks, he became bedbound and life became incredibly tough. He died very peacefully; it was the most glorious evening in Rockcliffe, still and hot with the sun setting over Rough Island, just as he would have wished. Originally published on the British Pharmacological Society website, 2013 and reproduced with their permission. Read more about Bill Bowman

John Morton Boyd

John Morton Boyd was born on 31 January 1925 in Darvel, and died on 25 August 1998 in Edinburgh. With his passing, the world of conservation lost one of its most charismatic pioneers and Scotland one of her greatest conservationists. Morton Boyd was educated at Kilmarnock Academy where, as in later life, he was a notable success. In the War years, between 1942 and 1943, he was School Captain, House Captain, Rugby Captain, Sports Champion and Flight Sergeant in the ATC. On leaving school in 1943, he started his National Service in the St Andrews University Air Squadron, joining the Royal Air Force in 1944 as an Aircrew Cadet and leaving in 1947 as a Flight Lieutenant. During this time (1945) he trained in Canada as an Air Navigator. Read more about John Morton Boyd

Alan John Brook

Professor Alan Brook, Emeritus Professor at the University of Buckingham, died peacefully on 5th March, 2013, at the Red House Nursing Home, Maids Moreton, just 10 minutes into his 90th birthday. Alan Brook was born on 5th March 1923 in Newcastle upon Tyne. He attended Dame Allan’s School before becoming a Kitchener Scholar at Kings College, Newcastle, which was then part of the University of Durham, and where he subsequently obtained a BSc degree in botany. After spending some time in operational research during war service with the Royal Air Force in India and Sri Lanka, he came back to Newcastle and, in 1949, he was awarded the degree of DPhil for a thesis on the algae associated with the slow sand filters of water treatment works.Read more about Alan John Brook

John Burns Brooksby

John Burns Brooksby was born in Glasgow on 25 December 1914 and died suddenly at Swaffham Bulbeck near Cambridge on 17 December 1998. The son of an organ builder, George B Brooksby, John Brooksby attended Hyndland School, Glasgow before proceeding to the Glasgow Veterinary College. He completed the course in 1935 but could not be admitted as MRCVS until his 21st birthday on 25 December. While completing an external BSc in Veterinary Science for London University he taught histology at the Glasgow Veterinary College to second-year veterinary students, among whom was his wife-to-be, Muriel Weir. In 1936 he decided on a career in research on animal physiology and obtained a research scholarship from the Department of Agriculture for Scotland, spending a year each at University College, London, McGill University, Montreal, Canada and Edinburgh University under Professor F A E Crew. However, in 1939 there were no openings available in animal reproduction, his preferred choice, and he joined the Foot-and-Mouth Disease Research Institute, Pirbright, as a research officer under Dr I A Galloway to become a veterinary virologist. Read more about John Burns Brooksby

Arthur Frederick Brown

Professor Arthur Frederick Brown, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh for over fifty years, died on 9 October 2014 aged ninety-four. He was born in 1920 in Castle Douglas. In 1938 he was dux of Kirkcudbright Academy and then went to Edinburgh University where he did a degree in Natural Philosophy, graduating with first class honours and the Gold Medal in 1942. He was recruited by Professor Simon of Oxford University to work on the early development of atomic energy, particularly relating to the separation of uranium isotopes. After the war he held several fellowships at the Cavendish Laboratory in Cambridge. In 1952 he was appointed to a lectureship in Physics at Edinburgh University, where he thrived, setting up a research group on the physics of metals and issuing a steady stream of publications using his knowledge of radioactive isotopes to study surface and defect properties by diffusion. This work earned him a readership. In 1967 he accepted a chair in Physics at the City University in London, where he was able to bring in external funding and maintain a substantial research group working mainly on non-destructive testing. A notable achievement was the work on ultrasonic surface wave modelling for crack detection, supported by innovative transducer development. One of his research interests had been the failure of metallic surgical implants and perhaps this led him to his decision to leave his body to medical science. Elected to the Royal Society of Edinburgh in 1959, Professor Brown served on the RSE Council from 1963-67. He is survived by his wife Margaret and his son and daughter. Read more about Arthur Brown

Charles Malcolm Brown

Professor Charles Malcolm Brown, one of Scotland’s most innovative thinkers in the field of microbial science and technology, sadly passed away on 11th October 2011 at home in Balerno, Edinburgh.  The eldest of three sons, Professor Brown, better known as Charlie Brown, was born on 21st September 1941 in Gilsland, a small village near Hadrian’s Wall.  He often joked that had his mother been evacuated a few miles further north during the war, he would have been born on the ‘right side of the border’.  His father was a blacksmith and was a soldier during the Second World War.  After the War, his parents settled in Durham, where Charlie’s education began. Learn more about Charlie Brown

Leslie Maurice Brown

The Rev Leslie Maurice Brown, Maurice to his friends, was born in Rye, Sussex on 23 April 1904 but spent his early years in Bicester, where his father was minister of the Baptist Church. On the death of his father the family moved to Salisbury, where Maurice received an excellent secondary education at Bishop Wordsworth’s School. Here he acquired among other things a love of poetry which remained with him throughout his life. In 1921 he left school and, with the help of a Wiltshire County Scholarship, entered the University of Bristol as a student of Pure and Applied Mathematics. After graduating BSc in 1924 he continued as a research student, working on algebraic geometry under Mr Peter Fraser, and after a year was awarded the degree of MSc. He carried on for a further year as a John Stewart Scholar. Peter Fraser, who came from Aberdeen, seems to have been a most inspiring lecturer. P A M Dirac of quantum theory fame, who graduated in Mathematics at Bristol a year before Brown, remembered Peter Fraser with particular enthusiasm as the one who introduced him to mathematical rigour and to the beauty of projective geometry. For the next few years Brown taught in a number of private schools, where he realized that he had an aptitude for teaching and obtained much enjoyment from it. Read more about Leslie Maurice Brown

Frederick Malloch Bruce

Professor Bruce, who died peacefully at his home in Surrey on July 23rd 1997 at the age of 85, spent his latter years slowly recovering from the illness which had forced him to retire early from Headship of the Department of Electrical Engineering at the University of Strathclyde in 1972. Fred Bruce was born (13 July 1912) and schooled in Aberdeen and freely acknowledged the value of his upbringing in an unprivileged family dedicated to education. He studied Electrical Engineering at King’s College, Newcastle (later the University of Newcastle upon Tyne), graduating in 1933 with a First Class Honours BSc and proceeding directly to graduate training at C A Parsons Ltd in the immediate vicinity. Later, his extra-mural research work at the University, sponsored by the Electrical Research Association, led to the award of a PhD degree for research on discharges in gases and the precision measurement of high voltages, work in which he was to become a recognised leader. He continued this research at Queen Mary College, London supported by a Sir James Caird Senior Fellowship, and at that time published two outstanding seminal papers dealing with precision high voltage measurements using an ellipsoid voltmeter and specially-designed uniform field electrodes. ‘Bruce profile’ electrodes continue to be used in high voltage research to this day. Read more about Frederick Malloch Bruce

Hermann Alexander Brück

Hermann Alexander Brück died on 4th March 2000. He had retired from the joint post of Regius Professor of Astronomy at the University of Edinburgh and Astronomer Royal for Scotland in 1975, having transformed the Royal Observatory Edinburgh into a major player in world astronomy. Born in 1905 in Berlin, he attended the universities of Kiel, Bonn and Munich. At the latter, working amongst many of the great physicists of the twentieth century, his doctoral studies - on the wave mechanics of crystals – were supervised by Arnold Sommerfield. His interest in astronomy had been ignited early in life, and in the new physics in which he was immersed it was natural that he should turn to astronomical spectroscopy. After completing his doctoral studies, he followed his friend A. Unsöld into this field by securing a post at the Potsdam Astrophysical Observatory. There he joined the physics colloquium which included von Laue, Grotrian and Einstein. Read more about Hermann Alexander Brück

William Bryden

Dr William Bryden died on 16th December, 1992, at Buderim on Queensland's Sunshine Coast at the age of 87. He had lived a full and meaningful life of challenge and great diversity. In the latter years of his retirement at Buderim he was first able to enjoy swimming and surfing on the Sunshine Coast's lovely beaches and playing lawn bowls, until he was sadly attacked by severe arthritis. But in his crippled body there remained an alert and enquiring mind. Read more about William Bryden

Stevenson Buchan

Stevenson Buchan served the (then) Geological Survey of Great Britain (GSGB) and its successor the Institute of Geological Sciences (IGS) for 40 years, first as a field geologist, then in his best known role as Head of the Water Department, and thirdly in an administrative capacity in the Directorate. These three phases of his wide-ranging geological career saw him mapping strata in Scotland and England, surveying for strategic minerals during the Second World War, practising and organising hydrogeological research and surveys and assisting in the creation of the IGS by the merging of the former Overseas Geological Surveys and the GSGB. To all of these tasks he brought a deep sense of responsibility, energy and resource. Read more about Stevenson Buchan

John Grant Buchanan

Grant Buchanan, the name by which he was known to family and friends, was born in Dumbarton, the first son of Molly and Robert Buchanan, who had a second son, Robin, four years later. His father ran a glue factory in the town, established by Grant's great, great, grandfather in 1832. From the local primary school, Dumbarton Academy, in 1936 he entered Glasgow Academy. In 1937 his father died and his mother took over the running of the family business, two glue factories, one in Dumbarton and the other in Linlithgow, and continued in business until 1960. His father wished his sons to have the best possible education and Grant was deeply appreciative of his mother's work to ensure this. In this financial support his maternal grandfather, William Wilson, gave further help. On the basis of a scholarship exam Grant had been offered a place at Christ's College, Cambridge in 1944 and a Mowat Scholarship from his school and a Buchanan Society Scholarship provided further backing. Read more about Grant Buchanan

Sir John Burnett

John Burnett was a person of unusually broad experience and interests. These included: active service in the Second World War, important fundamental research into fungi and their genetics, professorships in four different universities, a Vice-Chancellorship in a fifth, and a key national role in an important aspect of the conservation of biodiversity. Read more about Sir John Burnett

William Keith Burton

Keith Burton was born in Manchester on 12th October 1922 and died at his home in Milngavie on 30th December 1996. He was educated at Manchester Grammar School, then studied electrical engineering at the Manchester College of Technology. After graduation he worked for GEC at Heywood and Wembley, and then for ICI at the Frythe research centre. Read more about William Keith Burton


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