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
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.