Lancaster University

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Professor John Bevington

05/10/2007 10:30:24

John Bevington was born in 1922 at Blaina, Monmouthshire, the only child of Cuthbert and Ethel. After a very successful education in Winchester he was awarded a Hampshire County Senior Scholarship, a State Scholarship and an Open Exhibition at Queens' College Cambridge, reading Natural Sciences. He was placed in Class I in both Part I and Part II of the Tripos. John was elected to a Research Fellowship at Queens' where he undertook research in Professor Norrish's Department, first on problems associated with fires in aircraft in conjunction with Dr (later Lord) Dainton, and for his PhD he investigated the polymerization of aldehydes. He was awarded a DSc in 1963.

John married Helena Stewart in Cambridge in 1948. It was an exceedingly happy marriage and Helena always offered him her unquestioning support. In 1948 he took up a lectureship in Chemistry at the University of Birmingham and joined the research group of Professor (later Sir) Harry Melville. He developed and used extensively a very special and reliable procedure involving radioactive isotopes. John also served as a Regional Scientific Advisor for the Home Office because of his knowledge of chemical warfare and nuclear matters.

In 1964 John took up his post as the first Professor of Chemistry at the newly founded University of Lancaster. He established a successful course in Chemistry and there was a very productive research group. He was the first Principal of Bowland College and also served as a Pro-Vice-Chancellor during the period of great student unrest in the 1970s. He lectured at many International Conferences and was awarded a medal by the Royal Society of Chemistry. John was deputy to Sir Geoffrey Allen as Chairman of the Editorial Board for 'Comprehensive Polymer Science and Technology' and he was also Chairman of the High Polymer Research Group. He retired from the University in 1989 but continued practical work and writing until the Chemical Laboratories were finally closed. As Emeritus Professor he was awarded the Macro Group UK Medal in 2001 in recognition of his contributions to polymer chemistry. It is the first time the award has been made to a British scientist. John's last published work appeared in 2006. He was a very keen golfer, achieving a handicap of three.

There were four children – David, Richard, Katherine and Stephen. Unhappily David died in 1996 followed very shortly afterwards by Helena. Helena had been ill for many years which she endured with great courage and dignity. Richard, Katherine and Stephen survive and there are two grandsons – Andrew and Robert Beale. I am sure my Father will be greatly missed by his many colleagues and friends, but he will be mostly missed by his family who were - and still are - very much influenced by his great inspiration, fortitude and love.

Katherine Beale