Obituaries  - P

Obituaries - P

Alec Leonard Panchen

Alec Panchen died on 17th January 2013 in Newcastle upon Tyne, the city in which he spent most of his working life.Alec was born on 4th October 1930 in the City of London. After his early education at the Trinity School of John Whitgift in Croydon, Surry, he became a student at Selwyn College, University of Cambridge. He graduated in Zoology in 1953 and received his PhD in 1957 for research on an unusual temnospondyl amphibian from the Permian of Tanzania, collected by his supervisor Rex Parrington. The previous year Alec had been appointed as a Demonstrator in the Department of Zoology at the future University of Newcastle upon Tyne. He became Lecturer in Vertebrate Zoology in 1960 and Reader in 1972. Between1963-64 Alec was a Senior Fulbright Scholar and temporary Assistant Professorship of Zoology at Ohio Wesleyan University, Delaware, Ohio, and in 1980 he enjoyed a six month position as Visiting Zoologist at Monash University, Melbourne, Australia. After retirement in 1993 he was appointed to an Honorary Visiting Professorship at the University of Sunderland. Read more about Alec Panchen.

Basil Brockett Parrish

Basil Parrish, Director of the Marine Laboratory, Aberdeen from 1970 to 1982, and General Secretary of the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea from 1983 to 1989, died on June 28 in Aberdeen, aged 71. He was an outstanding internationalist who served fisheries biology over a period of 43 years. Basil Brockett Parrish was born at Guilden Morden, near Cambridge, on March 25, 1922. After education at the Cambridge and County High School for boys, he took 1st class honours in zoology at Reading University in 1943. He then entered the Royal Air Force to do operational research and spent some time in Italy towards the end of the war. Learn more about Basil Brockett Parrish

Thomas Thomson Paterson

Emeritus Professor Thomas Thomson Paterson, Archaeologist, Palaeontologist, Geologist, Glaciologist, Geographer, Anthropologist, Ethnologist, Sociologist and world authority on Administration, died on the 9th of April, 1994, in Lions Gate Hospital, North Vancouver, after a ten year battle with cancer of the prostate. Tom Paterson was born on the 29th of September 1909 in Buckhaven, Fife, the youngest son of the union of a fisherman's daughter and a collier. Performing extremely well in high school in Buckhaven, he won a scholarship to enter Edinburgh University in 1926, in spite of the offer of a 'good job in a bank' arranged by the headmaster of the school. While at Edinburgh he gained an Honours BSc in Chemistry, Physics and Mathematics, a similar degree in Geology and Zoology, and was the Vans Dunlop Scholar, Shaw-Macfie Lang Fellow, and Falconer memorial Fellow. He entered the medical faculty and gained his 2nd MB in Anatomy, Physiology and Histology. In 1933 he earned the Anthony Wilkins Studentship in Anthropology and 1851 Exhibition Research Fellowship to go to Trinity College, Cambridge, eventually being elected to a Fellowship in that college. His studies earned him an MA, and later, a PhD, and involved many expeditions - to East Africa, India, Greenland and the Canadian Arctic. A major inlet on the coast of northeast Baffin Island bears his name. By the time the 1930s drew to an end he had been appointed the Curator of the Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology at Cambridge, a position which gave him the status of full Professor. In 1937 he was elected to Fellowship of the Royal Society of Edinburgh. Learn more about Thomas Thomson Paterson

Thomas Diery Patten

The Society lost a distinguished member with the death on 10 April 1999 at the age of 73 of Professor Tom Patten, Fellow of the Society since 1967, Member of Council from 1969 to 1979 and Vice-President from 1976 to 1979. Tom Patten planned his life methodically, setting himself objectives and driving hinself unsparingly to achieve them, purposeful though not obsessive, always finding time for family and friends and mindful of the value of mental and physical relaxation. Born 1 January 1926 in Northumberland, he was brought to Edinburgh by virtue of a change of occupation of his father, and spent his life in the city, bringing his interests to his base rather than taking his base to his interests. For this, Edinburgh and its academic and industrial institutions owe him a debt of gratitude. Learn more about Thomas Diery Patten

Edward McWilliam Patterson

Edward Patterson held the Chair of Mathematics in the University of Aberdeen for 30 years. He established an international reputation through his research in differential geometry, topology and algebra and also through three text books which he wrote or co-authored.As Head of the Department of Mathematics, he guided it successfully through several difficult periods. He had a reputation amongst the students as being tough, fair, but always available and approachable. He will be remembered as a first class researcher, teacher and administrator and also for his untiring energy and skill in the wide range of duties that he undertook.  Read more about Edward McWilliam Patterson

Edward Mervyn Patterson

Edward Mervyn Patterson, always known as ‘Ted’ to his friends and colleagues, was born on 14th March 1920 in Northern Ireland, the son of John Wilson Patterson and Dorothy Mary Ekin. His father, a surveyor with the Northern Irish Civil Service, was a keen geologist and this no doubt explains Dr Patterson’s subsequent enthusiasm for this field. Nevertheless it was in chemistry that he graduated BSc with Honours from Queen’s University, Belfast, in 1941, having proceeded there from Bangor Grammar School in 1938. On graduation he was appointed research chemist in the Research Department of Nobel’s Explosives Division of ICI at Ardeer, Ayrshire and it was here that I first met him. Our ways parted at the end of the War but our friendship was renewed some twenty-five or more years ago. I admired him then and later as a man of many parts with a great enthusiasm for whichever field currently interested him. This continued to the end of his life. Learn more about Edward Mervyn Patterson

Henry Desmond Patterson

Henry Desmond Patterson, or Desmond as he preferred to be known, was born on July 17th, 1924, at Whitby, Yorkshire. His father was a policeman who previously served in Newry, Ireland, but transferred to Yorkshire in the face of threats from Republican activists. He was educated at grammar schools in Yorkshire and won a scholarship to study chemistry at the University of Leeds, even though his main interest was in mathematics. He graduated while the Second World War was in progress and because of his technical training was steered towards a scienti.c role, initially in air pollution. He worked for a year as Assistant Experimental Of.cer at the Department of Scienti.c and Industrial Research’s Fuel Research Station in Greenwich. Coming across a book by Sir Ronald Fisher inspired him to write to the great man enquiring about a job at Rothamsted Experimental Station. Fisher no longer worked there at that time but a reply came from Frank Yates who interviewed him and offered a job. He joined the staff at Rothamsted’s Statistics Department in 1947. Read more about Desmond Patterson.  Obituary first published by the Royal Statistical Society. Reproduced by permission of the Royal Statistical Society.

Alan Turner Peacock

Alan Peacock was an outstanding academic economist who also played an important role in public life, writes Sir Gerald Elliot, FRSE, a friend of long standing.
Educated at Dundee High School and St Andrews University, he served as a naval officer on small ships from 1942 to 1945, and received the Distinguished Service Cross for his work in intelligence. After the war he lectured first at St Andrews and then at the London School of Economics, becoming Professor of Economic Science at Edinburgh University in 1957. He left Edinburgh to found the Economics Department at the University of York. Read more about Sir Alan Peacock

Professor Hector MacQueen has also submitted a personal appreciation of Sir Alan Peacock, first prepared for the David Hume Institute.

Elizabeth Ethel Percival

Dr Elizabeth (Betty) Percival was born on 3 January 1906 in Coventry, as the only surviving child of Frank George Kempson, an engineer, and his wife Emily. The latter encouraged Betty to have a career, and after schooling in Coventry, and at Wolverhampton Girls High School, she entered the University of Birmingham. In 1927, she graduated BSc in Chemistry and Botany, and in 1928, BSc with honours in Chemistry. With hindsight, this proved to be an ideal training for her later research career on algal polysaccharides. Learn more about Elizabeth Ethel Percival

Wallace Spencer Pitcher

Wallace Pitcher, (or Wally, as he was generally known),who died in the Wirral on 4 September 2004, was born in London on 3 March 1919, and became the leading and most distinguished British expert on granites, their emplacement mechanisms, the geology of Donegal and the Donegal granites, and, with John Cobbing, the geology of the Peruvian batholith. He was elected an Honorary FRSE in 1993. A full account of his life will be found in a special Pitcher issue on granites in the Transactions of the Royal Society of Edinburgh: Earth Sciences and also in the Proceedings of the Geologists’ Association, 117, 311-319 (2006). Learn more about Wallace Pitcher

Lord Polwarth

As a general rule successful business leaders do not make good ministers. Harry Polwarth was an exception. In the short time that he was Minister of State at the Scottish Office, from 1972 to 1974, he played a crucial role in establishing a sound basis for the North Sea oil industry. He had succeeded his grandfather as a 27-year-old in 1944. The ninth Lord Polwarth had been the enlightened chairman of the General Board of Commissioners in Lunacy in Scotland (a long-forgotten institution now but then very important), so continuing in a tradition of public service dating back to the creation of the Polwarth barony by William and Mary in 1690. Learn more about Lord Polwarth

Guido Pontecorvo

Guido Pontecorvo was born on 29 November 1907 in Pisa and died in Switzerland on 25 September 1999. His parents, Masimo and Maria Pontecorvo, were prosperous members of the Jewish community in Pisa and had eight children, all of whom were successful - three of them at international level: Guido, Bruno (a nuclear physicist) and Gillo (a film director). Guido was the eldest child and he used to tell colleagues that it was his task to boil the water for the midwife whenever a new baby was expected in the family. Learn more about Guido Pontecorvo

John Alfred Powell

John Powell, physicist and company director, died on 31 December 1996, aged 73. He was born on November 4, 1923. His career followed an unusual course: from a base of research in the field of crystal technology for solid state devices in the UK at Oxford and in Canada, he had by the age of 40, and after only six years with Texas Instruments, risen from senior production engineer to become Managing Director (Northern Europe), then employing 3000 people. Three years later, he became the first non-US citizen to be appointed a Corporate Officer and Assistant Vice President of the parent company in Dallas. His subsequent working life was spent with EMI, from which he retired as a Deputy Chairman in 1979. It was in this period that he managed the development and launch world-wide of the EMI brain scanner, the revolutionary CT scanner invented by EMI’s Godfrey Hounsfield (later Sir Godfrey and a Nobel Prize-winner). Learn more about John Alfred Powell

Derek Hair Pringle

Derek Pringle, a former Vice-President of the Society, died on 7 July 1995 at the age of 69. His life had displayed a remarkable breadth of interests in science, industry and commerce, and public contributions, gaining him admirers and friends in many fields. Born in Edinburgh on 8 January 1926, second son of Robert Pringle and Lillias Dalgleish Hair, Derek Pringle was educated at George Heriot’s School, leaving with a fine academic record and proceeding to Edinburgh University in 1943. Changes in the University at the end of the Second World War led to his studying under two eminent Professors of Mathematics, Edmund Taylor Whittaker and Alexander Craig Aitken, and also under two eminent Professors of Physics, Nobel prizewinner Charles Barkla and Norman Feather; it was in Physics that Derek Pringle graduated in 1948. He immediately took up employment with Ferranti Ltd, the electronics company which had become established in Edinburgh during the Second World War. He was to stay with this company for 11 years, during which he made notable contributions to gas discharge physics and to applications of microwave ferrites in devices relevant to the firm's work in the defence industry. Learn more about Derek Hair Pringle

Robert William Pringle

With the death of Dr Robert W Pringle on 10 June 1996, Scotland lost a talented research physicist turned industrial entrepreneur. He made a notable contribution to the growth of the Scottish electronics industry. His Company, Nuclear Enterprises(GB)Ltd, which he founded in Edinburgh in 1956, had within about twenty years grown to become one of the largest specialised companies of its kind in the world, outside the USA. In its field of nucleonics and ultrasonic diagnostic equipment it found its markets in universities, high energy physics, medicine, industry, agriculture, geophysics and space research. It gave employment to some eight hundred total staff, and over sixty percent of its products were being exported to over sixty countries through a worldwide network of its agents. Subsidiary companies had been established in California, Germany and Switzerland. Learn more about Robert William Pringle

Dr H L David Pugh

Dr H L David Pugh, renowned internationally for his researches into metal forming and high pressure, died on 17 February 2005. He was born on 11 May 1914, the son of a Welsh tin plate worker. After graduating from both the University of Swansea and University College London, he carried out research in the Second World War at the Road Research Laboratory. During this period he was associated with the great physicist, Professor Max Born, and jointly they were awarded the Telford Prize of the Institution of Civil Engineers in 1941. Learn more about H L David Pugh

Edward Patterson held the Chair of Mathematics in the University of Aberdeen for 30 years. He established an international reputation through his research in differential geometry, topology and algebra and also through three text books which he wrote or co-authored.

As Head of the Department of Mathematics, he guided it successfully through several difficult periods. He had a reputation amongst the students as being tough, fair, but always available and approachable. He will be remembered as a first class researcher, teacher and administrator and also for his untiring energy and skill in the wide range of duties that he undertook


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