Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Lawrie Lyons (1922-2010): a pioneer in organic photonics and electronics

Professor Lawrie Lyons died last thursday in Brisbane. He was the Foundation Professor of Physical Chemistry at University of Queensland from 1963 until his retirement in 1987. Long before it became a "hot" field he made many of the first measurements the optical and electronic properties of organic molecular crystals such as anthracene.  
In 1967 with Felix Gutmann (UNSW) he published, Organic Semiconductors  (Wiley, 1967) 858 pages. This work was of sufficient influence and importance that in 1983 Hendrik Keyzer revised and expanded it, Organic Semiconductors: Part 2 (Wiley, 1983). [I think it is the ultimate compliment if you write a book and someone else publishes a later edition. Other famous examples include Coulson's Valence and Lehringer's Biochemistry].
In 1971 he was elected a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science. 
Lawrie was the scientific "grandfather" of Andrew Taylor, Head of Rutherford Appleton Laboratory and a driving force in making ISIS the world's leading neutron and muon source. At Sydney University, Laurie supervised the B.Sc. (Honours) thesis of John White (now at ANU), who was subsequently, Taylor's D.Phil supervisor at Oxford.
Following retirement, Lawrie pursued full-time a life-long passion. In 1989  he founded ISCAST, the Institute for the Study of Christianity in an Age of Science andTechnology.

I thank John Mainstone for providing some of the chronology.

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