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Dr Dudley Thompson 1943-2010

Dr Dudley Thompson

Dr Dudley Thompson

10 February 2010

Dr Dudley Thompson spent over 40 years at Bristol, becoming a respected lecturer and researcher, and headed the School of Chemistry's administrative team for more than a decade. Professor Tim Gallagher, Head of the School of Chemistry, offers an appreciation.

Dr Dudley Thompson joined the Department of Physical Chemistry as a Technician in the Physical Chemistry Advanced Teaching Laboratory, moving here from Cambridge in 1964. Dudley completed an external degree through a scheme run via the Royal Institute of Chemistry, publishing work in Nature, and then went on to earn a PhD in 1974, working with Professor Ron Ottewill FRS. From that point Dudley pursued research as a Research Fellow within surface and colloid chemistry and was also heavily associated with the support and delivery of the electron microscopy service. Dudley was appointed a Lecturer in Physical Chemistry in 1992 where he continued to contribute to research and teaching. 

His role changed very significantly in 1997 when he took charge of the School of Chemistry’s administrative team. In this role he had an overview of and responsibility for, among other things, student recruitment/admissions, examinations, timetabling, finance and internal personnel management. Over the next 12 years he managed a highly efficient and productive team and, very significantly, worked with three Heads of School: Selby Knox, Guy Orpen and myself (during my first two years in that role). I know I can speak for my predecessors when I say that Dudley’s contributions to the growing and continued success of the School were enormous and highly influential. He played a key role within the senior management of the School and his advice, experience and guidance were always welcomed. I found him invaluable as a mentor; he had such a wealth of information and experience to draw on, and when it came to deploying the School’s finances to best effect, no-one could do it better.

Dudley retired only eighteen months ago, so this made the news of his sudden and untimely death all the harder to bear. Our memories of him are, however, all so positive. They are of an individual who always knew when he was right, because he invariably was, but who would always take the time to explain a situation, with infinite patience, to a colleague or a student, and whose capacity to solve problems seemed inexhaustible.


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