Obituary: Dr Sandy Grassie

Dr Sandy Grassie

Dr Sandy Grassie, who died on 17 November aged 77, was among the first few physicists who came to help start science at the University of Sussex in 1962.

His background – a first-class degree in physics at Aberdeen and a PhD in experimental low-temperature physics at Cambridge – guaranteed his ability in research; but his greater love was always teaching and the development of collaborative work.

Sandy embraced the Sussex philosophy of interdisciplinarity, and was for a time seconded to the Nuffield Foundation for Science Teaching to help develop an A level course that extended the usual physics, chemistry and mathematics to include biology and the arts.

Later, he extended his collaborative approach to research with the Material Science Research Group at Philips Redhill, where he was appointed a Royal Society Industrial Research Fellow.

But Sandy continued to think of the importance of education and teaching: he set up a series of very popular one-day schools that invited physics teachers to the campus to see what and how the undergraduates were being taught, and the research activities at Sussex and elsewhere.

He confirmed his commitment to teaching when, in 1990, he retired from Sussex to become Head of Physics at Roedean School.

Above all, Sandy was what everybody who met him would agree was “a very lovely man”.

Douglas Brewer,
Emeritus Professor of Physics

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Posted on behalf of: Physics
Last updated: Monday, 26 November 2012