Search site


Professor J S Dugdale

Sydney Dugdale

Members will be saddened to hear that Emeritus Professor Sydney Dugdale died on 30 October 2005.

Born in Settle in 1922, Professor Dugdale was a pupil at Giggleswick School, where he was taught by the renowned Physics master, G R Noakes. Thus inspired, he read for a shortened war-time degree in Physics at Oxford from 1940 until 1942, and then joined the Royal Air Force. He was a Radar Officer for the next four years and served in a number of other European countries including France, where he commanded four radar stations in the Loire Valley an experience which reportedly did much to enhance his appreciation of French wine. Returning to Oxford in 1946, he graduated two years later with First Class honours in Physics. He went on to take his doctorate for work on the thermodynamic properties of solid helium as a function of temperature and pressure. His supervisor was the eminent physicist, F E (later Sir Francis) Simon. Awarded his DPhil in 1951, Professor Dugdale moved to Canada to join the National Research Council in Ottawa, initially as a post-doctoral fellow in the Chemistry Division. In 1953, he joined the Low Temperature and Solid State Physics Group, becoming Head of Solid State Physics in 1963. In what was an extremely stimulating scientific environment, Professor Dugdale worked on a wide variety of problems in low temperature physics, particularly the properties of metal and alloys. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada in 1964.

In 1965, Professor Dugdale, by that time a low temperature physicist of considerable reputation, returned to the UK, to take up a Chair in Physics at Leeds. He became the Cavendish Professor in 1976, on the retirement of Professor J G Wilson. At Leeds, Professor Dugdale established a research group which was responsible for a number of outstanding contributions to low temperature physics, including important work on the physics of conduction processes in highly disordered conductors. In addition to his numerous distinguished articles in learned journals, he wrote several well-regarded texts on the electrical properties of metal and alloys, and thermodynamics. These include Entropy and low temperature physics (1966); The Electrical Properties of Metals and Alloys (1977) and The Electrical Properties of Disordered Metals (1995). The paperback version of the last of these appeared just a few months ago. Professor Dugdale was a sagacious and generous friend, colleague and mentor; Professor Gwynne Morgan once wrote that to discuss physics with Sydney Dugdale is always a joy and one is acutely conscious of a distilled wisdom and style.

Greatly respected for the care, consideration, wisdom and courtesy with which he conducted all his dealings, Professor Dugdale was exceptionally active in the senior counsels of the University. He was twice Chairman of the Department of Physics: from 1969 until 1972, and again from 1978 to 1981. He served on countless groups and committees, covering, among other matters, academic policy and planning, senior promotions, international relations and governance. He served on Senate almost continuously, the frequency of his election and re-election a reflection of his standing with his peers. At various times, he chaired the Board of the Faculty of Science; the Research Degrees Committee; the Research (later Research Policy) Committee; the Committee on Readerships; the Group on Links with China; the Group on Part-time Undergraduate Degrees; and the Sub-Committee on Canadian Studies. He had a strong interest in the welfare and well-being of students, and served for several years on the Council of Bodington Hall. He represented the University for many years on the governing body his old school, Giggleswick, and served for a time in the same capacity at Leeds Grammar School.

Such was Professor Dugdales reputation that his services were also sought for many national institutions and committees. He served for two three-year periods on the Physics Committee of the Science and Engineering Research Council (SERC), latterly as Chairman of the Sub-Committee on Low Temperature and Solid State Physics, and was a Fellow and a Vice-President of the Institute of Physics. He also served for many years as Editor of the journal Contemporary Physics, designed to make recent discoveries in physics available to a non-specialist audience. That this aim was so well realised owed much to the uncompromisingly high standards of clarity of expression that he expected from commissioned authors.

The title of Emeritus Professor was conferred on Professor Dugdale on the occasion of his retirement in September 1987, after twenty-two years service. The appreciations published at the time spoke of the extremely thoughtful and kindly way in which he had always addressed himself to the matter in hand, of his keen and courteous advocacy, and of the loss to the University of a fine teacher, a wise and congenial colleague and an excellent physicist. In retirement, Professor Dugdale continued to be a regular and active visitor to the University, immersed in his responsibilities as Editor of Contemporary Physics - which he retained for a further decade - and in the writing of his volume on disordered metals.

Professor Dugdale is survived by his wife, Barbara, daughter, Elizabeth, and son, John.

Published: 1 November 2005