Dick’s research into mechanisms of polymerisation has ranged from fundamental studies of charge-transfer interactions of monomers and radical initiators through to the mechanisms underlying the functioning of photo- and electron beam ‘resists’, materials essential to the manufacture of advanced silicon chips. This interest led to 10-year collaboration with the Japanese Government Agency, NEDO, during the 1990s for research into the mechanisms of the synthesis of polysilanes and their derivatives and a world leading reputation for Kent in resists. His research activities involved the award of numerous grants with a total value well in excess of £1 million, the publication of over 120 papers, numerous invited lectures, and the supervision of the research of some 30 chemists, mostly to higher degrees.
Within the University Dick very successfully took on many positions. For many years, he was the deputy master of Keynes College. In 1997, the Schools of Chemistry and Physics merged to form the School of Physical Sciences (SPS) under Professor Bob Newport as Head of School. Dick took on this role for four years from 2000 and continued the work of amalgamating the two cultures and maintaining the courses. He founded the Functional Materials Research Group, which encouraged collaboration between chemists and physicists. It was Dick’s initiative to introduce the Forensic Science course that is now very popular with applicants and is consistently in the top 10 of league tables. He continued to support the course by funding the Richard Jones Prizes for the best undergraduate performances.
Dick was a very energetic member of the national and international chemistry community. Nationally he was a member of the Royal Society of Chemistry and the Society of Chemical Industries committees for polymers and materials, and was a member of the EPSRC Peer Review College. Internationally he had collaborative projects with groups in Europe, North America and Japan. For over 20 years, he was member of the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC), the body responsible for nomenclature and definitions. In this role, he chaired the Polymer Division, led several projects and was lead author of the paper that defined the naming of macromolecular materials. The high level of respect he gained in IUPAC resulted in a special issue of the journal Polymer International on his retirement.
Dick had two ambitions that were close to his heart. Firstly, he aimed to create the conditions in which his students could work well. Secondly, he wanted everyone to share his love for the music of Chopin. His accomplishments at the University of Kent and contributions to the University of the Third Age are testament to his efforts. He leaves a gap in the life of SPS and will be fondly remembered by all who knew him.
We express our condolences to his dedicated partner David and to his family.