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Sir John Enderby (1931-2021)

This former IOP President is best known for his pioneering work with neutrons to study the structure of liquids.


The British physicist and former IOP President, Sir John Enderby, has died at the age of 90.

Knighted for his services to physics in 2004, he is best known scientifically for his development of new techniques using neutrons to study the structure of liquids.

He was President of the IOP between October 2004 and September 2006 and had a long association with Institute of Physics Publishing (IOPP) in Bristol, where he served for many years as scientific advisor.

He was born in Lincolnshire on 16 January 1931. After doing his national service in the Middle East, he earned a first-class honours degree in physics from Birkbeck College, University of London in 1957.

He remained at Birkbeck to pursue a PhD in the properties of liquid metals, before embarking upon an academic career, working at the universities of Huddersfield, Sheffield and Leicester, and accepting a Chair at the University of Bristol in 1976, where he remained until he retired.

Between 1985 and 1988, he was seconded to Institut Laue-Langevin in Grenoble, France, a leading international centre for neutron science. As British director there, among other achievements, he assisted in the planning of the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility (ESRF).

He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1985 and was an Honorary Fellow of the IOP.

A celebrated physicist, Sir John also had a deep and lasting commitment to the UK physics community. He was involved with the IOP, IOPP and the original Physical Society for almost 60 years.

He is survived by his wife Susan and four children.