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History - People - John Callomon

John Callomon

John Callomon

Honorary Research Associate 1955-57
Lecturer 1957-1965
Reader 1965-1981
Professor 1981-1993
Professor Emeritus 1993

John Callomon was a spectroscopist who studied at Oxford with J W Thompson followed by a post doc in Ottawa. He worked initially with Gerry King and designed and built a 4 m Czerny-Turner spectrograph which, in its day, was one of the top performing instruments in the world. With it he carried out several elegant high resolution studies of benzene and other organic molecules. The instrument became known as Great Yellow Submarine and lived in the basement of the Christopher Ingold building until 1993 when Steve Price took over the lab. In later years his interest shifted to geology and carried out extensive research on ammonites which involved expenditions to Greenland and Alaska.

John was very much a UCL citizen. He played a full part in the social side of the Chemistry Department, and managed to secure for us a proper Departmental Common Room that was for many years the centre of Departmental life and gossip. With Edgar Anderson he also ran Bentham Fine Chemicals, a wine tasting club and small business, advising the College on what wines to stock.

John retired as Professor in 1993 but continued to play a supportive role at UCL, and was President of the Crabtree Society in 2010. He could be unsettlingly forthright in his opinions, but behind this sometimes tough exterior lay a charming and cultured man who could always be guaranteed to have thoughtful insights to contribute to any discussion.

Obituaries appeared in The Times and The Independent.

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This page last modified 28 September, 2010

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