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History - People - Edward David Hughes

Edward David Hughes

Edward David Hughes
(1906 - 1963)

Demonstrator 1932 - 1934
Hon. Research Assistant 1934 - 1937
Assistant Lecturer 1937 - 1939
Lecturer 1939 - 1943
Hon. Research Associate 1943 - 1947
Professor 1948 - 1963
Deputy Head of Department 1957 - 1961
Dean of Science 1959 - 1961

Hughes graduated at Bangor and joined UCL at the same time as C.K. Ingold . The two men collaborated for the next forty years, apart from the mid-40's when Hughes held a chair at Bangor and although their combined work has a unity, each played an independent and distinctive part. Hughes was a major pioneer in using isotopes for chemical studies. He succeeded Ingold as Head of Department until his untimely death two years later.

Some remember him for an incident which happened on the promenade at Aberystwyth when out carousing with some students. A fairly large man, he took umbrage when the scales at the end of the promenade told him he weighed more than 16 stone. A violent struggle ensued in which he, and the students, attempted to hurl the scales into the sea. They were stopped by a policeman who, in broad Welsh tones, "You older students should be setting a good example....". We understand from Dr Dewi Lewis that the scales were finally consigned to the waves some years later by members of the local theological college.

Jerry Weston (1953) recalls that "Hughes' lecturing style was unusual. He wrote each entire lecture at great speed on the lecture-room blackboards - it was very difficult to keep up with him while taking notes. And he did this entirely from memory, without recourse to notes. I remember that on one occasion, before writing some data, he consulted a scrap of paper from his pocket, and this exceptional moment was greeted by the students in their usual way - laughing and banging their feet on the floorboards."

Alwyn Davies adds that that "Hughes wrote the same lecture on the board year after year. Once, the students did it for him before he arrived. He was most annoyed, and rubbed it out, and rewrote it, word
for word."

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This page last modified 20 September, 2010

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