R.I.P. James Stirling (1953-2018)

I’m sorry that this blog is once again the bearer of bad news, but it is my sad duty to pass on the news that distinguished particle physicist James Stirling (pictured above) passed away yesterday at the age of 65.

Professor James Stirling was one of the leading lights of the Institute for Particle Physics Phenomenology in Durham (of which he was the first Director) and subsequently became Jacksonian Professor of Natural Philosophy and Head of the Cavendish Laboratory at the University of Cambridge. More recently he was Provost of Imperial College, a post from which he stepped down earlier this year. He was elected to a Fellowship of the Royal Society in 1999, and awarded a CBE in the New Years Honours List in 2006.

As well as being an eminent physicist, with over 300 publications to his name including fundamental contributions to the field of hadronic interactions and perturbative QCD, Professor Stirling also gave great service to the research community, by serving on numerous important committees, including the Science Board of the Science & Technology Facilities Council (STFC).

Not being a particle physicist myself I didn’t know James as a close colleague, but I met him on several occasions during visits to Durham. Most recently, he was the external member of the appointment panel when I was interviewed for the post of Head of School of Mathematical and Physical Sciences at the University of Sussex. It says a lot for his personality that what I expected to be a fierce grilling when he led the questions on my research, turned out to he a friendly (yet challenging) discussion of some of my publications which he had clearly read extremely carefully.

James Stirling was held in extremely high regard by the scientific community and he’ll be greatly missed.I send my deepest condolences to his family, friends and colleagues.

R.I.P. Professor James Stirling (1953-2018)

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One Response to “R.I.P. James Stirling (1953-2018)”

  1. […] with fondness and admiration by many.  Even astronomers – Peter Coles has posted more about why here. In particular he […]

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