US mini logoHome | A-Z Index | People | Reference | Contact us

Bulletin - 16th December 2005

All Bulletins

Obituary: Dick Grimsdale

Next Article | Contents

A photo of Dick GrimsdaleDick Grimsdale's arrival at Sussex in 1967 as Professor of Electronic Engineering was just the latest development in an already distinguished career. He had just left a job in industry to join the recently founded School of Applied Sciences.

Dick had been educated at Manchester Grammar School and Manchester University, where he took both his BSc and PhD. Although he was already an accomplished electrical engineer, he had no knowledge of computation until he was sent on a programming course to Cambridge. Back in Manchester, he was put to work writing diagnostic programmes.

As Dick's work developed he found himself at the forefront of the development of the digital computer. He was to remain at the University until 1961, when he decided to move into industry.

At Sussex, Dick branched out into the quickly developing applications of computers. His work took him first into digital communications, where he worked on distributed computing and networking. He organised a number of prestigious conferences at the University, and it was at one such conference, in September 1973, that a group of American academics working with Dick sent what is reputed to have been the first transatlantic email message.

Dick, who in his research interests was forever spinning off ideas, developed his work into computer graphics and in the late 1980s (after a four-year spell as Dean) began work on highly integrated devices for computer graphics applications. His research group developed a high reputation that was to survive well past his normal retirement date.

He continued to teach and supervise labs and, until a few weeks before he fell ill, was contributing solidly to new curriculum developments. His involvement with one of the Department's most recent research projects led to two patentable ideas in just a few months.

Dick relaxed with his family and by simply making things. He loved practical engineering, either through the construction of electronic circuits in his office or using the Meccano in his attic at home.

He was an accomplished organist and would while away the evening hours at the Meeting House. He was by far the longest-serving member of the 'Staff Badminton Club' and in recent years could be seen spending hours waiting for the gymnasium to open to book courts for the following week.

Dick had a love of engineering and enshrined all the best things about the profession. He died on 6 December, aged 76. We'll miss him greatly but his ideas and accomplishments will no doubt live on.


Professor Richard Stobart, Head of Engineering and Design

Next Article | Contents

Contact the University | Disclaimer