Physics and Astronomy


Obituary: Steve Rogers

Steve Rogers

The University has recently lost one of its longest-serving staff members in Steve Rogers, who died on 19 May 2020, aged 60. Steve joined the Physics Department within Mathematical and Physical Sciences in 1978, straight from the sixth form at Brighton and Hove Grammar School (now BHASVIC).

After training as a Junior Technician and taking his Higher National Certificates, for many years Steve worked with Francis Fernando to run the Cryogenic Services within Physics. They made a well-matched and dedicated team, with Steve’s meticulous monitoring of usage and stocks complementing Francis’ mechanical nous to provide grateful users across campus with very large quantities of liquid helium and nitrogen.

Steve continued to run the service after Francis retired but with the reduction in low-temperature research, on-campus production eventually ceased upon the advent of the School of Chemistry, Physics and Environmental Science. In addition to overseeing all gas supplies and related safety issues within this new School, Steve demonstrated great versatility in dealing with a wide variety of other problems, a characteristic which earned him many friends.

In 2000, Steve also assumed technical responsibility for setting up and managing the “Schools Lab”. The initiative for this came from a local physics teacher, David Daniels, and involved groups of GCSE and A-level pupils from nearby schools spending a day on campus carrying out syllabus-enriching experiments. The vital role Steve played in developing this activity brought him much satisfaction and fulfilment.

Steve continued to manage this lab through the various School restructurings during which times it was also used intensively by the International Summer School and the Foundation Year. Over the past decade, Steve also worked closely with Darren Baskill on the development and delivery of an extensive Physics and Astronomy Outreach programme, in which the Schools Lab continues to play a pivotal role.

As a result of complications following a hip fracture in 2009, Steve spent several protracted periods in hospital and did not enjoy the best of health thereafter. Despite this, he continued cheerfully with an always careful and precise approach in all that he did.

He is survived by his sister Suzanne and his two nieces, Hannah and Rebecca, on whom he doted and of whose achievements he was intensely proud.

Authors: Mike Hardiman (Associate Senior Lecturer, School of Mathematical and Physical Sciences) and Malcolm Strong (former Technical Services Manager)

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By: Sean Armstrong
Last updated: Monday, 22 June 2020