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George Butterworth

George Butterworth, Professor of Psychology, died unexpectedly on Saturday 12th February, aged 53.

George was an authority on infant development, and internationally respected for his scholarship, for his committment to research and for the energy he brought to fostering infancy work both nationally and internationally.

After completing his D.Phil at Oxford, George took a post at Southampton University, moving to a Chair in Psychology at Stirling in 1985, before coming to Sussex in 1991. He was appointed Honorary Professor, University of East London, in 1996. His contributions to the discipline include founding both the British Infancy Research Group and the Journal Developmental Science, as well as heading numerous groups ranging from the Scientific Affairs Board of the British Psychological Society to the European Society for Developmental Psychology.

George's research interests were broad, encompassing topics as varied as the origins of self awareness in human development and evolution, and children's understanding of geographical features of the earth. But his most distinguished contribution was his work on the origins of thought and perception in infants, a field in which he was a world authority. His work on infant pointing and its role in cognitive development is on display in the Science Museum in London.

A man of strong opinions, pursued vigorously, George could be controversial. But his passion for his subject was infectious, and his warmth and generosity in supporting others' work will be a lasting memory.

The University has lost a distinguished scholar, and a genuine character. Our sympathies go to his family.


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25th February 2000


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