Obituary: Professor George Bell
Tuesday 29 June 1993
GEORGE BELL spent his professional life in theoretical physics, and was Emeritus Professor of Applied Mathematics at London University from 1965.
He received his early education chiefly at the Bournemouth School; it was here that I met him, in 1940, and we remained close friends from then up to his death. He was a talented scholar, and his outstanding School Certificate results opened the way to further study in many fields; he chose science. He gained a Postmastership to Merton College, Oxford, in 1944, and took First Class degrees in Physics in 1946 and Mathematics in 1948.
Bell was a Junior Lecturer from 1948 to 1951 and was awarded a D Phil in 1952. This period saw the commencement of what was to be a distinguished career in statistical mechanics where his research, which displayed his considerable talent for physical insight, became noteworthy, and where his teaching was especially marked by clarity and his sympathetic approach to students.
He married Dorothy Easton in 1952, shortly after taking up a post at ICI in Billingham in 1951. But Bell was more at home in an academic environment and in 1954, he accepted a post as a Lecturer in Mathematics at Umist, and moved house from the North-east to Cheshire. He became a Reader in the Mathematics Department of Chelsea College (later merged with King's College and Queen Elizabeth College, London) in 1963, and was appointed a Professor in 1965.
Bell was twice Head of the Mathematics Department at Chelsea College, and was heavily involved in the merger of the colleges; he fought hard for what he saw as the right priorities, and the present harmonious and successful Mathematics Department in King's College is a testament to his efforts.
In addition to his college duties, Bell made a significant contribution to the wider scene; he edited a series of books in his field and was co-author with Dr David Lavis of The Statistical Mechanics of Lattice Models, volume one (1989), and volume two was nearly finished at his death. He published many papers and articles in journals, and he worked as an external examiner. His work, with Dr S. Levine, on electrical double layer theory and colloidal stability, was of particular interest to physical chemists, and he was a Consultant to Unilever from 1963. After his formal retirement in 1988, and his wife's death in 1990, he went into a lower gear, but continued with lecturing and research.
Outside science Bell's interests, whilst mainly intellectual, were catholic, and he had an extensive library on a wide variety of subjects. His knowledge of some aspects of history was almost encyclopaedic and he had a deep interest in the arts. He was a devoted visitor of museums, art galleries and archaeological sites, and he and Dorothy indulged this interest during their many overseas holidays. George Bell was somewhat reserved, and this, with his short sight, could give a false first impression; he was in fact a most generous, witty and kindly man, and an extremely loyal friend.
- 1 To help fuel their propaganda machine against the poor, our government has now decided to redefine the word 'welfare'
- 2 Tower Bridge glass walkway 'smashed' by night-time visitor dropping bottle of beer
- 3 Anti-gay hate preacher accidentally tweets 4,000 followers cartoon clip of him 'confessing' to be a 'homosexual sodomite'
- 4 Woman opens professional cuddling shop – gets 10,000 customers in first week
- 5 Grayson Perry: London needs affordable housing because 'rich people don't create culture'
Kenya bus attack: Primary school head teacher plays dead to escape slaughter by Islamic extremists
Tower Bridge glass walkway 'smashed' by night-time visitor dropping bottle of beer
Anti-gay hate preacher accidentally tweets 4,000 followers cartoon clip of him 'confessing' to be a 'homosexual sodomite'
Woman opens professional cuddling shop – gets 10,000 customers in first week
Grayson Perry: London needs affordable housing because 'rich people don't create culture'
Rochester by-election: Ukip gains second MP as Tory defector Mark Reckless holds seat
'Beast of Bolsover' Dennis Skinner takes Ukip MP Mark Reckless to task moments after he is sworn in
Rochester by-election: Labour MP Emily Thornberry resigns after posting white van and England flags tweet
France 'blocks' Russian sailors from boarding a warship
Rochester aftermath: Sacking of Emily Thornberry will make work of Labour MPs '10 times harder'
Revealed: How the world gets rich – from privatising British public services
£30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Exciting career opportunity to join East...
£18000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An ambitious start-up company b...
VOLUNTARY ONLY - EXPENSES REIMBURSED: Reach Volunteering: Do you love the Engl...