Professor Edwin Dawes obituary
6 July 1925 – 3 March 2023
Professor Edwin A. Dawes, the internationally acclaimed Emeritus Professor of Biochemistry at the University of Hull, renowned magical historian and prolific author died aged 97 on March 3, 2023 after a short illness.
A Yorkshireman by birth, he gained his Ph.D from Leeds University in 1948, subsequently becoming a Senior Lecturer in Biochemistry at Glasgow University, and D.Sc in 1961. He relocated home to Yorkshire as the founding professor of the Biochemistry Department at Hull University in 1963, serving at various times as the University’s Pro Vice Chancellor, Dean of Science and Chair of the Library Committee. He worked closely with the poet and university librarian, Philip Larkin and was later a founder, and Chair, of the thriving Philip Larkin Society. He was granted emeritus status in 1990, and awarded an honorary Doctorate of Science by the University of Hull in 1992.
His scientific research interests included bacterial growth, metabolism energetics, and the production of biodegradable plastics by micro-organisms, leading to the development, in conjunction with ICI, of one of the first commercial bio-degradable plastics “Biopol”. He served as Editor in Chief of the Journal of General Microbiology (1976-81) and of FEMS Letters (1982-90), in addition to publishing numerous scientific papers of his own.
He wrote one of the first student textbooks on biochemistry (Quantitative Problems In Biochemistry), which went through multiple editions and languages over a period of more than thirty years from 1956 onwards.
For many years he was Chair of the Scientific Advisory Committee of the Yorkshire Cancer Research Campaign, and was instrumental in helping establish the MRI centre at Hull Royal Infirmary in 1992.
Professor Dawes was also a noted magician and author. As a conjurer, he was an internationally recognized authority on the history of magic. He was president of the Hull Magicians’ Circle for 57 years, a Gold Medallist and Gold Star Member of the Inner Magic Circle, and was the official historian of The Magic Circle. He was recipient of numerous international and lifetime achievement awards for his contributions to magic literature. He published over twenty books on the history of conjuring.
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