Obituaries - J

Obituaries - J

Sir David Jack

Drug discovery today is a highly technical process involving computerised screening of libraries of chemical compounds for their ability to react with preparations containing possible drug targets, and selecting those which respond positively for further development. But it was not always thus. Most of the medicines we use today for treating common diseases such as asthma, angina pectoris and peptic ulcer were discovered in a different manner by small teams of chemists, experimental pharmacologists and clinicians , often led by a visionary scientist whose understanding of drug development and the nature of the underlying disease process were the key to successful drug discovery. David Jack, who died on 9th November 2011 ,was such a visionary. It is due to his grasp of the complexity of how the lungs respond to chemicals in both a beneficial and adverse manner that he and a small team were able to invent a series of medicines which have saved the lives of countless asthma sufferers and allowed most other asthmatics to live a normal symptom free life. The citation awarding him the Fellowship of the Royal Society of Edinburgh in 1978 named him one of the world’s most successful inventors of significant new medicines. Read more about Sir David Jack
This obituary was first published in The Times on 18 November 2011. Reproduced by permission of The Times.

John Meadows Jackson

John Jackson was born on 8 February 1907 in Chorlton-cum-Hardy, near Manchester, and died at his home in Dundee on 23 March 1998 having just passed his 91st birthday. He was elected to Fellowship of the Royal Society of Edinburgh in 1947, served on the Council of the Society 1963-66, was congratulated by the Society on fifty years of Fellowship in 1997, and had all but completed fifty-one years as a Fellow when he died. John was born into a working-class family but his mother died at his birth and he was brought up by his grandparents. He won a scholarship to Manchester Grammar School and from there a scholarship to Imperial College, London. His progress has to count as a memorable example of how, in those difficult years for working-class families after the First World War, family care and the then rare higher educational financial support, taken together, enabled a young man to use his natural abilities to prosper as a student. Read more about John Meadows Jackson

William Fleming Hoggan Jarrett

Bill Jarrett was among the most eminent experimental pathologists of his generation.  His contributions to veterinary and human medicine were immense: in the course of his own research he discovered several viruses, defined the pathogenesis of important animal diseases and helped develop vaccines for their control; in addition, he had a major influenpce on research on viruses of great importance in humans. His work was carried out in Glasgow over a period of 40 years apart from interludes in Kenya in the 1960s and at the U.S. National Cancer Institute (NCI) in the 1980s. He was Professor of Veterinary Pathology at the University of Glasgow from 1968 until he retired in 1990. Read more about Bill Jarrett

Ralph Hudson Johnson

Ralph Johnson was born on 3rd December 1933 in Sunderland, County Durham, son of Phyllis and Sydney Reynold Edward Johnson, chartered electrical and mechanical engineer. He attended the Lawrence Sheriff School in Rugby until entering Rugby School as a Foundation Scholar. In 1952 he proceeded to St Catharine's College, Cambridge as Draper's Co Scholar and Lord Kitchener Scholar, graduating BA (Hons)(Cantab) before completing his medical training at University College Hospital Medical School, London (MB, BChir Cantab, 1958), remaining in that hospital for two years as House Physician and House Surgeon before going to the accident service at the Radcliffe Infirmary, Oxford. Read more about Ralph Hudson Johnson

Thomas Lothian Johnston

The announcement of the death of Tom Johnston in The Scotsman made no mention that he was a professor and a principal and included no reference to his doctorate and many honorary degrees. Nor did it say he was a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh; indeed, had been its president. That was Tom. He would have liked that.  Those born in Hawick are known as Teries. Thomas Lothian Johnston was born in Whitburn, the family moving to Newcastleton near Hawick shortly thereafter. So Tom, with a Border surname, became a proud Borderer and in every respect other than his place of birth, a real Teri. A contemporary at Edinburgh University, aware of Tom's academic skills, asked him why he had not thought of going to Oxford or Cambridge. Tom's reply was that had there been a university at Hawick he wouldn't have come to Edinburgh. Read more about Tom Johnston

George Scott Johnstone

George Scott Johnstone (Scott) was born on 30th Oct. 1922 in Glasgow and died on 9th May 2005 in Edinburgh. He was a field geologist whose knowledge of the Scottish Highlands, their landscape and the geology that underpinned them was probably second to none. He always considered himself very fortunate that his professional interests were so closely complemented by his love of mountaineering, skiing and photography. He supervised, and was an integral part of, the great wealth of Highland Survey work in the decades after the war. It was this work that formed or underpinned many of the major advances in Highland geology we see today. Read more about George Scott Johnstone

Douglas Samuel Jones

Douglas Samuel Jones one of the U.K's most outstanding mathematicians of his generation, died on the 26th November 2013 at the age of 91.  His deep insight into the theory of electromagnetic waves and his development of new and exceptionally powerful mathematical techniques with which to study them has led to the resolution to problems of both practical and social importance. His work is fundamentally important to the design and performance of radar antennae in which it is necessary to optimise their receiving and transmitting characteristics. Douglas Jones also investigated the ways in which electromagnetic waves interact with objects having sharp edges. These studies are basic to the construction of stealth aircraft whose sharp geometrical shapes are designed to minimise the aircrafts radar signature. Read more about Douglas Samuel Jones

Professor Reginald Victor Jones

Reginald Victor Jones was born on 29 September 1911 at Dulwich, London. Good teaching brought an Open Exhibition to Wadham College, Oxford in 1929 where Jones gained a First Class Honours in Natural Science- Physics in 1932. Under Oxford’s Professor of Experimental Philosophy, F A Lindemann, he began research on infrared detectors, being awarded his doctorate at the age of 23. In 1936 he was appointed a Scientific Officer in the Air Ministry. After the invasion of Poland he became attached to the Air Intelligence branch of MI6, studying files on potential German weapons and ways of ‘breaking’ the German Enigma encoding machine. He unravelled the contents of the Oslo Report, on German dive-bombers, remote-controlled rocket-driven gliders, radar detection of enemy aircraft positions and radio monitoring of range of bombers. On 11 June 1940, Jones read a decoded Enigma message which convinced him that the Germans had an intersecting radio beam system for bombing England. A special meeting at 10 Downing Street was called for 21 June, to which Dr Jones unexpectedly found that he had been invited. The Prime Minister let the 28-year old explain the beam threat, right from the start. Equipment was urgently developed, the effect of which was to steer German aircraft off the proper beam path, depriving pilots of their inherent accuracy, (although both enemy and home forces believed that the beams had really been bent). Read more about Reginald Victor Jones


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