Obituaries - R

Obituaries - R

John Raeburn

John Ross Raeburn (affectionately known to his colleagues as JR) was born in 1912 in Kirkcaldy, and educated at Manchester Grammar School and Edinburgh and Cornell Universities. His first post was as Professor of Agricultural Economics at Nanking University, but he had to leave quickly because of the Sino-Japanese War. He joined the Ministry of Food in 1941 as an economist in the Dig For Victory campaign, for which he must take much of the credit. After the war he worked at Oxford University on plans to develop food production from Britain’s farms, before being appointed in 1959 as Strathcona Fordyce Professor of Agriculture at Aberdeen University, and Principal of the North of Scotland College of Agriculture in 1963.Learn more about John Ross Raeburn

Ramakrishna Venkata Rajam

"Seest thou a man diligent in his business he shall stand before kings" said King Solomon in the book of Proverbs in the Holy Bible (Proverbs Ch 22 : V : 29). Professor R V Rajam was one such. He passed away on 29th October, 1992 at Madras, a few months before his 100th birthday. He leaves behind three married daughters: his wife pre-deceased him a few years ago. Ramakrishna Venkata Rajam was born on 9th January, 1893 at Kumaralingam, Coimbatore district of Tamilnadu (former Madras State), India. He had his schooling at Erode and in the diamond Jubilee High School at Gopichettipalayam, Coimbatore District from 1899 to 1911 and obtained his school leaving certificate in 1911. He did his Inter Science at the Madras Presidency College from 1911 to 1913 and then joined the Madras Medical College for his MB, BS, from 1913 to 1918, passing with a First Flass and First Rank in the Madras University. He was awarded the Prizes in Pathology, Surgery, Clinical Medicine and the Ramabadra Medal for the highest mark in the MB, BS Examination with distinction in Medicine, Surgery and Midwifery. He was the Johnstone Gold Medalist - given to the best outgoing Medical Graduate. Learn more about Ramakrishna Venkata Rajam

Ralph Alexander Raphael

With the death of Ralph Raphael, synthetic organic chemistry has lost one of the most able, original, charismatic and universally loved practitioners and teachers of his generation. Ralph’s outstanding intellect, his unique ability to absorb, retain and recall information – he could truly be described as a walking encyclopaedia of organic chemistry – found application in devising ingenious, elegant and economical syntheses of a long succession of biologically active natural products. His generosity in response to fellow scientists seeking advice or help is well known. Learn more about Ralph Alexander Raphael

Eric Cyril Raynold Reeve

Eric Cyril Raynold Reeve, known to his friends as Eric, was born on September 14th 1913, in Liverpool. His father had been a Church of England missionary in Japan from 1907 to 1910, while his mother was the daughter of a vicar, so the ambience of his early years was very much Church of England. He was the second of four brothers. They lived in a succession of towns in England as his father moved from parish to parish. In 1915 they moved to Great Yarmouth and in 1920 to Hockering, Norfolk and later to Lowestoft, Suffolk, where he became a close friend of Benjamin Britten at the local prep school. Britten was Head Boy, while Eric became School Captain. Learn more about Eric Reeve

Vincent Cartledge Reddish

Vincent Cartledge Reddish was born in 1926 in the town of Leigh, then in Lancashire, and grew up in Culcheth where Vincent attended the local grammar school, which he left in 1941. His scientific career did not begin immediately and during the next few years he worked at a bank, joined the Navy, then attended Wigan Technical College where he obtained a degree in physics. His astronomical career was launched in 1952, when he was accepted for a PhD at University College London, producing a thesis on “Star clusters in relation to stellar evolution” under CW Allen in 1954. He then began his long connection with Edinburgh, becoming a lecturer at the university. Read more about V C Reddish

Robert Lovell Reid

Emeritus Professor Robert (Bob) Reid, one of Australia's outstanding agricultural scientists, died on 23 September, 1996 in Canberra at the age of 75. He was born on 11 April 1921, in Melbourne, but moved with his family when seven years old to Sydney. He was educated at Fort Street High School and on leaving took a year off before deciding to study for a Bachelor of Science degree at the University of Sydney. He specialised in agricultural chemistry and graduated in 1944 with first class honours and was awarded the University medal. Learn more about Robert Lovell Reid

John Alan Richardson

Dr John Alan Richardson, who has died aged 82, married Jean Irving Wylie in 1946. They had a son and two daughters, all of whom survive him. He spent his entire academic career in the Department of Botany at the University of Newcastle upon Tyne (previously King’s College in the University of Durham) and was a pioneer in research into the problems of industrial land reclamation. He graduated from King’s College in Botany and Physics in 1940 and spent the War years first as an Anti-Aircraft Radar Officer and later as a Captain in the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers. At the end of the War he returned to King’s as a member of the staff of the Botany Department until he retired in 1984. Learn more about John Alan Richardson

Geoffrey Edwin Rickman

Geoffrey Rickman, Emeritus Professor of Roman History at the University of St Andrews, was a man of great wit and humour.  He was also a remarkable scholar, an inspiring teacher, a wise administrator, and a major figure in the life of two great institutions of learning, the University of St Andrews and the British School at Rome. Read more about Geoffrey Rickman

Thomas Neilson Risk

At a time when the reputation of bankers is even lower than that of politicians, it is appropriate to remember Sir Thomas Risk, Governor of the Bank of Scotland from 1981 to 1991, as a professional of impeccable integrity and an acute sense of rectitude. When I last talked to him, in March, he was movingly heartbroken about the behaviour of those now in charge of cherished banks, and ashamed of their treatment of customers who had put their trust in them. "Part of the trouble is that in my day the bank bosses had been brought up in good traditions, many of them starting as tellers. Now, too often, the decision makers have been brought in from backgrounds far from conversant with the ethics of banking." Read more about Sir Thomas Risk. First published in The Independent 6 July 2012. Reproduced with permission from The Independent

Anthony Elliot Ritchie

The citation attached to Anthony Ritchie’s award as Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 1978 was ‘for services to Science and Education in Scotland’, and this well characterised a life, and a contribution, almost without parallel in its span, diversity and intensity of service to medicine, to the sciences, to the universities, to the Royal Society of Edinburgh, to the Carnegie Trust for the Universities of Scotland, to Libraries and to charities and numerous other bodies. His death removes from the Scottish academic and intellectual world a mind of great wisdom and extraordinary breadth of experience, and for many a friend always ready to help, bringing to all of life the highest quality and charm. Learn more about Anthony Elliot Ritchie

Gary Francis Roach

Gary Francis Roach was born in South Wales on 8th October 1933.  After a short spell in Persia, as it then was, the family returned to Britain at the outbreak of the Second World War and settled in Nottinghamshire, where Gary attended Southwell Minster School. After gaining his BSc Honours degree in Mathematics and Physics from the University of Wales in 1955, he joined the Education Branch of the Royal Air Force, attaining the rank of Flight Lieutenant, before moving on, in 1958, to a post as Research Mathematician with the British Petroleum Company.  While working for BP, he studied part-time at Birkbeck College in London and was awarded an MSc with distinction in 1960. Read more about Gary Roach

Anne S Robertson

Professor Anne Robertson who died on 4th October 1997 at the age of eighty-seven was an archaeologist and numismatist of international repute. From the moment of graduation in 1932 until her retirement in 1975 she was associated with the Hunterian Museum at the University of Glasgow, and its world-famous Hunter Coin Cabinet. Throughout her long and active life she maintained high standards in scholarship and museum curation. Learn more about Anne Strachan Robertson

Forbes William Robertson

Forbes was born in Vancouver, Canada. His father, Forbes Proctor Robertson, was an Aberdonian and his mother, née Amy Dorothy Lancey, of English and German descent, came from London. After a few years the family moved to nearby Seattle, where his father was in the retail trade, and he began school. However, his mother was not at ease in the North America of the l920s and so when he was aged seven the family resettled in Eastbourne, Sussex, closer to his mother's roots. There, he developed his love of the countryside, eagerly observing flowers and butterflies on the South Downs. His father was, however, dissatisfied with the quality of his education, and so when Forbes was 12 the family returned to Aberdeen, to St. Swithin Street, where he and his brother, Angus were enrolled in Robert Gordon's College. Forbes was very successful academically and happily developed his many interests, especially in the flowering plants of the Aberdeen area. Living on a Canadian war pension (his father was invalided out of the First World War), life during the 30s was frugal; however, books, especially poetry, were readily available from the public library. Already his aim was to be a trained naturalist. Learn more about Forbes Robertson

James Duncan Robertson

James Duncan Robertson was born in Glasgow on 16 January 1912, the son of James Robertson, a local Headmaster and Phemie Helen Hunter Muir, a school teacher. He was the eldest of four children who included two brothers and a sister. On 18 June 1947, he married Isobel Mary ('Elma') Lamont Leitch, a geographer whom he met while both were lecturers at Glasgow University. Known to his family as Jim, James was affectionately and almost universally known to his colleagues as 'J D'. On his father's side, he was descended from Shetland merchants and fishing folk, on his mother's side from Ayrshire farmers. From annual holidays in Shetland, he developed interests in the sea and the life it contains, in islands and in birds. He attended Rutherglen Academy, Glasgow, from 1917 to 1924 in the Junior Section and from 1924 to 1929 in the Secondary School, emerging as Dux medallist in 1929. Learn more about James Duncan Robertson

John Davie Manson Robertson

With the death of Mr John D M Robertson on 2nd November 2015, the county has lost a highly respected member of the community who served these islands and beyond for a substantial part of his life.  Retirement was not a word in his vocabulary and his zest to remain active meant that he never retired and was involved in the family business until the very end.  Over many years he also gave much time to an array of public organisations, and his belief in maintaining good personal relationships guided his deliberations in the institutions he served. But first and foremost he was a devoted husband to Norette and proud father of Susan, John, Fiona and Sinclair.  He recognised that ultimately the most important thing in life is family, and always maintained that any success he achieved stemmed from Norette's selfless, unflinching support and resilience.Read more about John Robertson

Sir Lewis Robertson

Lewis Robertson was born in Dundee in 1922, second son of J F Robertson, merchant and manufacturer. He completed his schooling at Trinity College, Glenalmond and was an apprentice Chartered Accountant with a firm founded by his grandfather. He joined the RAF in 1942 without completing his training, and on the basis of his language skill was selected for work at Bletchley on enemy codes and ciphers. After the War he entered the family jute firm and became Managing Director at the age of 32. By a process of takeovers and acquisition the firm (and his responsibilities) expanded greatly until he parted from it in 1970. By that time he had already begun a separate “career” in public service. This lasted well past the year -1981 - which marked the beginning of a new phase of his life as what he called a corporate recovery specialist. He died in Edinburgh in November 2008. Learn more about Sir Lewis Robertson

Noel Farnie Robertson

The partnership between the University of Edinburgh and the East of Scotland College of Agriculture, which was the Edinburgh School of Agriculture, was inherited from Sir Stephen Watson, but it was Noel Robertson who made it. Noel was shy, diffident and self-effacing, but he was fierce and resolute about his Edinburgh School of Agriculture. He created a seamless operation in which University and College staff worked together, shared resources, and gained an international reputation for agricultural research, education and advisory work. He ensured that both University and College staff contributed to all three sectors. His early years as Principal of the Edinburgh School of Agriculture were blessed with funds and he used them to good effect by both expanding and re-focusing the organisation. The School was raised from its foundations in giving (literally) local advice to farmers, undertaking demonstration and development work at the Bush, and educating the rural community’s sons (and an increasing proportion of its daughters), to become a renowned centre of scientific experimentation, research-rich learning, and technology transfer (before that term found contemporary use). Learn more about Noel Farnie Robertson

Robert Hugh Stannus Robertson

Robert Hugh Stannus Robertson, the son of Sir Robert Robertson, one-time Government Chemist and Lady Robertson, was born on 17 June 1911 in Greenwich; he died on 7 July 1999 in Perth. He was educated at Rugby School where he read classics, briefly attended the University of Frankfurt-am-Main in 1928, and then gained an MA in geology, mineralogy and chemistry at Cambridge. After graduating, he spent several months mapping Dicksonland in Spitsbergen, and has a glacier, Robertsonbreen, named after him. In 1933 he was appointed chief chemist to the Fuller’s Earth Union Ltd in Surrey, where he spent nine very successful years. He devoted all his working life to applying science to industry and specialised in the creation of new processes and new industries. Learn more about Robert Hugh Stannus Robertson

Sir Rutherford Ness Robertson

Sir Rutherford Ness (Bob) Robertson was one of Australia's most influential, best loved and respected scientists in the second half of the last century. Descended from a dynasty of ministers of religion, Bob's tolerance, unselfishness, and unswerving sense of duty is legendary. His wisdom and generosity touched thousands of Australians now eminent in all walks of life. He served the ANU as Master of University House (1969-1972), as the second Director of the Research School of Biological Sciences, retiring in 1978, and as Pro-Chancellor from 1984-86. Read more about Bob Robertson
This obituary was first published in the Australian National University Reporter on 30 March 2001. Reproduced with permission from the Australian National University.

David John Robins

David Robins was born in Purley, Surrey, England and attended Purley Grammar School. The enthusiastic and eventful experimentation of one of the Chemistry teachers attracted him towards a career in Chemistry. He obtained his BSc in Chemistry from the University of Exeter in 1966 and stayed on there to carry out research on the biosynthesis of pyrrolizidine alkaloids for his PhD work under the stimulating supervision of David Crout (now Emeritus Professor at the University of Warwick). He extended this interest in biosynthesis during a two year stay from 1969–1971 at the University of Pittsburgh, USA, studying vitamin K biosynthesis with Professor Ronald Bentley. Following brief stays at the Universities of Surrey and Reading, he was appointed a lecturer at the University of Glasgow in 1974. Read more about David Robins

William Wallace Robson

Professor William Wallace Robson, scholar and critic, died in Edinburgh on July 31, 1993 aged 70. He was born in Plymouth on June 20, 1923. Wallace Robson was one of the finest critics of his generation. He founded no schools and did not encourage passionate discipleship but - through his strenuous intelligence, teaching and writing - stimulated students and colleagues for over half-acentury. William Wallace Robson attended Leeds Modern School before going up as a scholar Learn more about William Wallace Robson

John George Romanes

George Romanes is etched into the fond memory of two generations of British doctors, his students in Edinburgh now dispersed over the UK and abroad. As a teacher he was superb, and a legend. James Garden, Regius Professor of Clinical Surgery at the University of Edinburgh, told me he was an inspirational lecturer, a hands-on team leader in the dissection room and an active supporter of Garden and his contemporaries when they were young demonstrators in anatomy. Chris Haslett, Professor of Clinical Sciences at the Centre for Inflammation Research at the University, told me that Romanes' lectures, with their fantastic coloured anatomical designs on the blackboard were the highlight of his undergraduate teaching experience. Read more about George Romanes
First published by the Independent, 17 April 2014.

Marion Amelia Spence Ross

Dr Marion Ross, Reader Emeritus in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at The University of Edinburgh, died on 3 January 1994. She was born in Edinburgh on 9 April 1903. Marion Ross was educated at Edinburgh Ladies College and then at the University of Edinburgh. She studied Mathematics and Natural Philosophy and graduated with honours after having been awarded prestigious bursaries in mathematics in both her first and second years of study. After graduation she spent a year at teacher training college in Cambridge and then taught mathematics for two years in a girls secondary school in Woking, Surrey. Learn more about Marion Amelia Spence Ross

Sydney Ross

Sydney Ross, leading chemist and bibliophile, was a former Professor of Colloid Science at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, New York, USA, and founder, and until his death, President of the James Clerk Maxwell Foundation. He was born in Glasgow on 6 July 1915 and died peacefully in his apartment at the Eddy Memorial Geriatric Center, Troy on 4 December 2013, aged 98. He was the only son of Jack and Lia Blint Ross and had an elder sister Betty who predeceased him. He never married. In 1933 his father, senior partner in the family whisky distillery Ross, Campbell Ltd of Glasgow, decided to extend the business to North America. In the same year, after being educated at the High School of Glasgow, Ross emigrated to Montreal where he attended McGill University and in 1936 graduated BSc with first class honours, concentrating on analytical chemistry. He then went on to the University of Illinois where he studied x-ray diffraction under George Clark and completed a dissertation on foams and brewing, graduating with a PhD in chemistry in 1940. Read more about Sydney Ross

Klaus Friedrich Roth

Klaus Friedrich Roth, who was elected to membership of the London Mathematical Society on 17 May 1951 and awarded the De Morgan Medal in 1983, has died in Inverness, aged 90. He was the first British winner of the Fields Medal, and made fundamental contributions to different areas of number theory, including Diophantine approximation, the large sieve, irregularities of distribution and arithmetic combinatorics. Klaus Roth was born on 29 October 1925, in the German city of Breslau, in Lower Silesia, Prussia, now Wrocław in Poland. To escape from Nazism, he and his parents moved to England in 1933, with his maternal grandparents, and settled in London. He would recall that the flight from Berlin to London took eight hours and landed in Croydon. His father had suffered from gas poisoning during the First World War, and died within a few years of their arrival in England. Roth studied at St Paul's School, and proceeded to read mathematics at the University of Cambridge, where he was a student at Peterhouse and also played first board for the university chess team. However, he had many unhappy and painful memories of his two years there as an undergraduate. Uncontrollable nerves were to seriously hamper his examination results, and he graduated with third class honours. Read more about Klaus Roth
This obituary was first published by the London Mathematical Society in their January 2016 Newsletter

George Stanley Rushbrooke

G Stanley Rushbrooke, Professor of Theoretical Physics, Newcastle University, 1951-80, died on December 14 aged 80. He was born on January 19, 1915. Throughout this century physicists and chemists have struggled to understand how the physical properties of solids, liquids and gases arise from the forces between their molecules. Stanley Rushbrooke devoted a distinguished career to furthering this area of study and played an important role in the group of scientists who largely solved the question. Learn more about George Stanley Rushbrooke

Francis Alwyn Rushworth

Francis Alwyn Rushworth, physicist, who was born in Cleckheaton on 2 July 1920, the son of the head teacher in the local primary school and who retired as Reader in Physics, University of St Andrews in 1982, was killed tragically in a road accident near St Andrews on 19 August 1997. An early pioneer of nuclear magnetic resonance (nmr) research in Britain, with the first nmr signals observed in mid-1948, Rushworth's academic career spanned the period from 1947 to 1982. From its discovery in the late forties, with Nobel prizes for Purcell and Bloch, nmr rapidly developed into a valuable spectroscopic technique in the physics of solids, but also into an absolutely invaluable analytical method in chemistry; more recently it has been developed into an alternative system to X-rays in the scanning of patients in hospitals. The liquid chemistry developments of nmr have been recognised by the further award of a Nobel prize to Richard Ernst in 1991. The nmr method subjects materials to large magnetic fields, which induce a precessional motion in the atomic nuclei therein, such as the proton nuclei of the water molecules of the body. These precessing molecules are then 'resonated' by the application of radio waves of the same frequency as the precessional motion. It is no coincidence that nmr's discovery surfaced just after a war in which radar figured prominently. Learn more about Francis Alwyn Rushworth

David Francis Oliphant Russell

David Russell was born in 1915 in Rothes House, where his father, later Sir David Russell, was managing director of Tullis Russell, the Fife paper-making firm. He died on 3rd January 1993. After schooling at Sedbergh and three years at St Andrews University, he served with the 7th Battalion of the Black Watch in North Africa, Sicily and Normandy. Awarded the MC for conspicuous gallantry at El Alamein, he was severely wounded there and again in Sicily and a third time at Le Havre in 1944, whereafter he was invalided out. Left with an apparent but not pronounced limp, it was difficult to appreciate the extent of his disability and discomfort, of which he made little; for the rest of his life he was known as 'Major Russell'. He was elected to the Fellowship in 1974 and valued the distinction, though his manifold activities left him little time to participate in our affairs; the Society was the loser. Learn more about David Francis Oliphant Russell

William Devigne Russell-Hunter

Professor W.D. Russell-Hunter, known to his friends as ‘Gus’, was an outstanding Scottish aquatic scientist and a well-loved university teacher. He was born in Rutherglen on 3 May, 1926 and died at home in Easton, Maryland in the United States on 21 May, 2005. With his passing, the world has lost one of the most influential aquatic ecologists of the 20th Century. Gus attended the University of Glasgow and graduated with an Honours BSc in 1946. This degree was followed with a PhD in 1953 and a DSc in 1961, both degrees from the University of Glasgow. Learn more about William Devigne Russell-Hunter


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