Obituary: Lord Marshall of Goring

Click to follow
The Independent Online
In 1956, a couple of years after his doctorate, Walter Marshall, as a young Scientific Officer at Harwell, attended a Summer School on Magnetism at Varenna on Lake Como, in the company of some of the greatest authorities on that subject, writes Professor Nicholas Kurti [further to the obituary by John Baker, 26 February]. The deep impression made by this brilliant young physicist is proved by the fact that Professor J.H. van Vleck of Harvard and Professor C. Kittel of the University of California, Berkeley invited him to spend a year in each of their respective departments. After his return to AERE it was largely thanks to his dynamic leadership and personal contributions that Harwell became one of the leading centres for solid state physics.

Marshall's own research covered many topics such as hyper-fine structure in ferromagnetics, the theory of antiferromagnetism, neutron physics and order-disorder phenomena. It is perhaps not superfluous to emphasise that it was Marshall's research in physics, characterised by originality of ideas and the use of simple but powerful mathematical techniques, and not his Directorship of Harwell, that earned him the Fellowship of the Royal Society.