Tribute to Harry Nursten

Following the death of Emeritus Professor Harry Nursten on 20 December 2011, aged 84, the former chair of the Thames and Kennet Group, John Roddom, writes:

Before 1991 SCI members had no regional focus in the vast area between London and Bristol. When the idea of a new section (ie regional group) was mooted, Reading was a clear choice as a centre of communications, with a university with a thriving science faculty.

A connection with the Department of Chemistry was a first essential and was quickly forthcoming in the person of Emeritus Professor Harry Nursten.

For the next 21 years he was the rock on which the Thames and Kennet Group has depended. He provided committee meeting facilities in the Chemistry Department, took the minutes, organised meetings and speakers - in all but name the Group Secretary, though that was a formal title he never agreed to take: never seeking limelight: at all times patient, courteous and quietly effective.

Absorbed as he was in his research in the Department of Food Science, Harry had a distinguished background in the Yorkshire dyestuffs industry, as befitted a graduate of Leeds University. Even in his 'retirement', Harry seldom missed a day in his laboratory.

He will be sadly missed by all his colleagues and many friends in SCI.

  • Prof Keshavan Niranjan adds: Harry’s retirement from the University of Reading was only theoretical! He continued to work, almost full time, until about a year ago, in a meticulous and conscientious manner that was typical of Harry. I considered Harry to be a model retiree - despite being in the Department for most of a normal working day, he never expressed any opinion on the University or Departmental policy, but he was always there to advise, help and support the Department, and, indeed, anyone who cared to approach him. I joined the University when Harry was the Head of the Sub Department of Food Science. I have not met anyone more fair minded than Harry!
  • The University of Reading adds: Professor Nursten was appointed Professor of Food Science at Reading University in 1976, became Head of Department ten years later and served for a further two years as head of the sub-Department of Food Science. He retired in 1992.

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