R.I.P. Lisa Jardine
As soon as I got home from Oxford yesterday I heard the very sad news of the death of writer, scholar and broadcaster Lisa Jardine, who has passed away at the age of 71.
Today’s newspapers are filled with tributes from people who are fair better qualified than me to discuss her career as a historian (e.g. here and here). I can’t leave her death unmarked, but I’ll restrict myself to some personal recollections. Lisa Jardine worked at Queen Mary College when I was employed there (from 1990-1998) . I won’t claim to have known her well but I did meet her quite a few times, usually in the Senior Common Room bar. She seemed to me to be a rarity: a historian who was genuinely interested in, and knowledgeable about, science. In fact she knew an enormous amount about a huge range of different subjects, but was also extremely engaging and approachable, though she didn’t suffer fools gladly (if at all). She was a delight to talk to; conversations with Lisa were always both entertaining and educational. What I’ll remember most, however, is her deliciously cheeky sense of humour and the marvellous twinkle in her eye. It’s hard to believe that she has gone.
Rest in Peace, Lisa Jardine (1944-2015).
P.S. In case you weren’t aware, Lisa Jardine was the daughter of famous polymath Jacob Bronowski who was of Polish-Jewish origin. I mention that not to detract from Lisa’s own achievements as an academic, but to draw attention to yet another family of “migrants” that has enriched our nation’s culture.