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InnoCentive Challenges: Chemistry

Thursday, 23 April 2009

Material Matters™ and Materials Matter™?_Part II_ Acknowledgement and Dedication to the late Prof. John Edwin Harris (Jack)

Dedication to a friend and mentor.

Jack Harris, the regular Materials World columnist, presents his views on topical issues under the heading Materials Matter. The journal has recently announced, "the sad news that Jack Harris, Fellow of the Institute (FIMM) died in February 2009. There will therefore be no Materials Matters columns for the time being. A full obituary for Jack will appear in due course in Materials World. "

Jack, Prof. John Edwin Harris, MBE, FRS, FREng, FIMMM to give him his full title, was a true friend, in that he gave me much needed encouragement to pursue my contribution to my profession as a metallurgist, materials scientist and engineer. He encouraged me, and certainly many others to write. His column and contact led me to write again in english, after many years in France. I was honored that he found time to exchange correspondence, giving a reference or again an opinion, often simply adding an (s) to make a word plural "for growth-inclusiveness versus exclusion" At the time he was Editor in chief of Interdisciplinary Science Reviews an Institute of Materials Minerals and Mining Journal. This was a timely reminder of the interdisciplinary nature of our subject it's art and practice. He introduced me to some of his friends, shining examples and role model to follow. This encouraged me to write regularly, not only my web pages but several full papers, and book reviews the latter on behalf of the Institute. His column, Materials Matter, in Materials World was the first page I turned to, upon receiving my members journal in the post each month.

-My last exchange with Jack was via the open comment through his column "Comparing nuclear power in France and England" and more specifically picking up his pointer on renewable energy Bureaucracy spawns chaotic energy policy', by Sir William Lithgow, The Times, 8 October 2008.
- Jack's last column corresponded with the 200th anniversary of the birth of Charles Darwin 150th anniversary of the publication of his epoch-making book, On the Origin of Species, published after his death.

For me Materials Matter™, in spite of Jack's passing away, will in my mind remain his trade mark, ™, a difficult act and to follow.

Jack's lead continues after his death. He once advised me in a quiet way that a good place to start an enquiry was via the Royal Society and her members. While writing this and thanks to the Internet, I paid a new visit to both Royal Societies of which Jack was a member, The Royal Academy of Engineering, FREng, and The Royal Society FR. My current interest being in media assisted learning, I was more than well recompensed both The Academy and The Royal Society propose rich media materials, Web TV, lectures and conferences which I viewed with Realplayer
The Royal Academy of Engineering Media Website TV and Video.
The Royal Society Media Website TV and Video.

Let me end with this quote from Lord Rees, (FRS) current president of the Royal Society, who described John Edwin Harris (Jack) as "a fine example of the 'activist' and socially concerned scientist. We need more like him."

A fuller tribute has been given by his friend Dr. Frank Duckworth and published in the Guardian.

PS. I hope you and more especially your family, your friends, colleagues and peers approve of my personal tribute and attempt to keep his memory and guidance alive for the benefit of younger generations, generations of scientists, engineers and writers. Jack was perhaps a gifted Alchemist.
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