March 2007

Welcome to this latest Suss-Ex Newsletter.  The group is gradually building up some momentum, with a range of activities already behind us  and a number of ex­citing ones ahead for you to note in your diary.  So far this has been run by an infor­mal steering group chaired by former VC Sir Gordon Conway, but the time is ap­proaching when we can aim to set up a more formal and permanent structure.  A working group is formulating proposals.  Watch this spot.

If you are a new recipient of this newsletter, you will find more information on the steering group and activities so far on the Suss-Ex Club website at —also worth a glance from time to time by any mem­bers who would like to keep up with what is going on.




keeping in touch:

We believe that all those receiving this Newsletter by e-mail have given permission to be communicated with concerning activities and matters of likely interest to staff formerly employed on the University of Sussex campus.  If we are not right in your case, please tell us!

We could still do with alerting more former staff to the existence of the Club, and would welcome volunteers to take one of the following areas under their wing and do what they can to unearth and contact former colleagues and persuade them also to fill in the form giving their contact details (see, and thereby start receiving Suss-Ex Club communications.


Admin (central)

American Studies


Art History










IR, Politics



Media Studies



Psychology: Exp, Cog, Soc


Secretarial/administrative staff

Social Work

Sport Centre


Technical staff



The following subjects/areas have been, or are being, trawled by those listed.  Many thanks to them.


Biology, ES (Mike Land)

English (Valerie Cromwell)

French (Valerie Cromwell)

German (Valerie Cromwell)

History (Beryl Williams)

Library (Adrian Peasgood)

Maths (Charles Goldie)

Physics (David Betts)

Sociology (Jennifer Platt)


Events planned for 2007:

·        Trips to Brighton Theatre Royal (tickets bought and groups complete—sorry!—but there will be more theatre trips):

o       28 February,  Pinter, ‘Old Times’

o       15 March, Coward, ‘Hay Fever’;

o       25 April,  Sartre, ‘Kean’

·        Friday 20 April—Supper and talk by Simon Fanshawe (sign up below)

·        Sunday 13 May—Ashdown Forest walk led by David Streeter (sign up below)

·        Wednesday 27 June—Visit to Wakehurst Place (sign up below)

·        [Saturday 15 September—Reunion for 1960s graduates including cho­ral music in the Meeting House from 2-4 pm]

·        Monday 29 October—House of Lords Dinner

·        Friday 14 December—Christmas lunch party, Meeting House

NB More details of the forthcoming events are given at the end of this Newsletter, with forms to sign up for those you are interested in and car-sharing arrangements.


Professorial lectures:

If you do not already receive a copy of the Professorial lecture leaflets issued each tem, please contact Sue Hepburn in the Development & Alumni Relations office (  Alternatively please keep an eye on the alumni events website


Mass Observation

Also of interest might be the Day Conference on Friday 11 May ‘Celebrating 70 years of Mass Observation: From the 1930s to the Digital Revolution’.  See


Reports on past events:


Christmas party

Our party was held as planned on Thursday 14 December, with attendance more or less evenly divided between Suss-Ex members and USPAS pension scheme mem­bers.  Drinks were centrally provided, but most of the food was brought by those at­tending.  What was brought was very nice, but there was the occasional blip due to a factor we had not thought of, which was that the available menu at any given time depended on the order in which contributors arrived.  I’m sure that one of our mem­bers from mathematics or operational research can propose a formula for dealing with this on any future occasion, or perhaps it would be a useful practical topic for a student project.  (Eligible for the special prize of premature Suss-Ex membership?)  Clearly my important task of preventing everyone bringing sausage rolls worked well, as in the end no-one did!  A highlight of the evening was the musical performance of Roger Walkinton on the organ, in various ensembles with fellow musicians, and some of us enjoyed the opportunity to sing a few carols.  Some lessons have been learned for future events; next year, perhaps we will try holding the party at lunch time, which would suit some people better.  When that time comes round, we shall be able to draw on the modest capital assets that Suss-Ex now holds: some paper plates and plastic cutlery, some red and green paper napkins, two gold-coloured serving dishes, some tinsel ….

Special thanks are due to Low Thomson, who played a key organising role as well as contributing his alcoholic and non-alcoholic punch recipes to the entertain­ment, and to Alison Thomson who also did sterling work on the night, as well as to Roger and colleagues.

                                                                                                Jennifer Platt


Talk by Gordon Conway

This was the first in what is planned as an occasional series of talks with supper. In January 2007 Gordon Conway gave the first, on ‘Life after Sussex’, entertaining Suss-Ex members in after-dinner fashion with some anecdotes from his life after the Sussex Vice-Chancellorship.  An unexpected approach during a party at Swanbor­ough Manor, followed by some discreetly secret trips to the States to find out more, led to his appointment as President of the Rockefeller Foundation, where he spent seven years.  Initially he and Susan Conway did not always recognise the local ce­lebrities, most notably a fellow dinner-guest who turned out to be the now infamous homemaking guru Martha Stewart.  Susan was told that Martha was dressed in the ‘English look’— which in New York apparently signified the look of having just come in from gardening, though relatively few Englishwomen have been observed doing so wearing cashmere.  His idea of the optimal structure for the Rockefeller Founda­tion was symbolised by a shuttlecock—he brought one to demonstrate the metaphor, with its circles of inter-connected themes, not unlike the Sussex interdisciplinary structure, but which also, when it falls, always lands right way up.  He also described his current work as Chief Scientific Advisor in the Department for International De­velopment, which takes him to many countries on matters concerning HIV/Aids, cli­mate change and avian flu, expressing admiration for Margaret Beckett's firm hand as Foreign Secretary, and for DfID Minister and Sussex alumnus Hilary Benn's inci­sive brain.  He has found that meetings at DfID can include several Sussex alumni, and has been known to accuse them of engaging in a post-modernist approach which would put even Sussex to shame.  He also mentioned his ongoing work as Professor of International Development at Imperial College, and as President of the Royal Geographical Society.  The Suss-Ex steering group is honoured that its chair­manship has found a place among his post-retirement hobbies.

                                                                                                            Roger Walkinton




Roger Blin-Stoyle, born 24/12/1924, died 31/1/2007, aged 82 years.

I first met Roger Blin-Stoyle when he was a young theoretical physicist working in Oxford in the late 1950s trying to understand how topics such as spin and weak in­teractions influenced the structure and behaviour of atomic nuclei.  I was trying to measure the spins and magnetic moments of radioactive nuclei in Cambridge and I found it very helpful to visit Roger and discuss which nuclear spins, if measured, would have the most influence on the development of our understanding of nuclear struc­ture.

I was very surprised, but delighted, when Professor N.F.Mott, the head of the Cavendish Laboratory, came to see me and suggested that I might like to apply for a post to set up an experimental physics group in the new University of Sussex where Roger intended to apply for the post of Dean of the School of Physical Sciences.  The university had already opened with 50 arts students being taught in several houses in Brighton.  We applied for the posts and by the end of 1961 were already attending Senate meetings with some ten arts faculty and had started to investigate the Physics building, already under construction, and worry the architects to make modifications to the plans to fit in better with our plans.

Roger played an immense part in these early days of the university.  The arts faculty assumed that the School of Physical Sciences would have exactly the same format as the arts Schools but this was not possible when all the students would be spending many hours per week in laboratories.  The heads of the Chemistry and Mathematics appointed early in 1962 set about appointing faculty and the School opened in the Physics building (now Pevensey I) in October with 150 students.  By that time Roger had convinced Senate that four to six science students should be present in tutorials instead of one and had proposed an Arts-Science programme involving joint teaching for second year Arts and Science students.  Roger seemed to enjoy very much his teaching of the first year courses as much as the lectures he gave to the physics graduate students, most of whom were already supervised by the newly appointed faculty and had come with them.

Roger remained very active and successful as a fundamental particle theorist, published more than one hundred papers and a book on the theory of nuclear mo­ments, and became a Fellow of the Royal Soci­ety in 1976.  At the same he contrib­uted to the planning of the way the other science Schools, Biology and Engineering, might develop.  The School of Physical Sciences split to form Mathematical and Physical Sciences (MAPS) and Molecular Sciences (MOLS), and Roger continued as Dean of MAPS.  MAPS grew rapidly and within a few years Roger began to in­vestigate the possibility of starting both theoretical and experimental astronomy in collaboration with the Astronomer Royal, Sir Richard Wooley, and other staff at Herstmonceux, an observatory some twenty miles from the university.  Roger was convinced that fundamental particles would play a large part in the future develop­ment of astronomy and this certainly turned out to be the case.  The theoretical as­tronomy group was formed, it grew rapidly and has been very successful but we were unable to start a workable group of experimen­talists.

Roger also did much more than a reasonable share as a university adminis­trator by becoming Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Science), Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Act­ing Vice-Chancellor for several months while Asa Briggs was ill.  He survived a pe­riod of sit-ins with significant disruption and decided he didn’t want to become a vice chancellor but he was very good at coping with the problems in a sympathetic man­ner while he was in office.

I shall always remember Roger Blin-Stoyle as an excellent pianist and organ­ist who enjoyed a very happy life with his family and played a very important part in the development of what was the first of the New Universities created in this country after the Second World War.

                                                                        Ken Smith, Emeritus Professor of Physics


Douglas Brewer, Emeritus Professor of Physics, contributes the following addendum to his obituary in the Independent:


It might well be supposed that with such a programme of activities he would have little time for anything else.  On the contrary, he led a happy family life, taking holi­days at home and abroad by tent or caravan with his wife Audrey and their two chil­dren.  He greatly enjoyed entertaining students and friends at home, where in the early days he would dance 'the twist' along with the rest of them.  He was an accom­plished pianist and organist.  He used to play the organ in the Meeting House at lunch times; indeed the existence of the organ there is said to be due to his consid­erable persuasive powers.


(Douglas’s obituary appeared in the Independent on 15 February.  Another obituary appeared in the Guardian on 20 February, by Sir Denys Wilkinson, former Vice-Chancellor.)


Tony Nuttall, born 25/4/1937, died 24/1/2007, aged 69 years.

Tony Nuttall’s early death will distress many Suss-Ex colleagues who remember him well from his time at Sussex; our sincere condolences to his family.  This obituary note draws on several of the published obituaries that have appeared, to which ref­erences are given below.

Tony came to Sussex in 1962, and left it for Oxford in 1984.  His first degree was in Classics and English, and through his career as an English teacher he ‘never turned his back on his classical training—he would say “I keep my Greek in reason­able repair”—and Greek and Latin texts are constantly referred to and given his own English translations, in his published work.’  ‘The way in which he moved naturally between disciplines is indicated by the fact that he wrote his BLitt thesis on the phi­losophical issues raised by Shakespeare’s The Tempest … [which] turned into his first book, Two Concepts of Allegory’ (1967); another early book was A Common Sky: Philosophy and the Literary Imagination (1974).  This cross-disciplinary ease obviously suited him well to Sussex, where he had a leading role in the development of the famous Modern European Mind contextual ‘which placed some of the great modernist writers in their intellectual context, so that students read Dostoevsky or Lawrence along with Freud, Conrad or Sartre along with Marx, Thomas Mann along with Nietzsche …’  Perhaps more strikingly, he took a real interest in aspects of biol­ogy, once giving a lecture on difficulties in the Darwinian theory of natural selection, whose objections Maynard Smith reportedly took seriously.  His many later books ranged widely over period and genre; he continued to publish after retirement, and his last book, Shakespeare the Thinker, is due out in April.  He was an inspiring and conscientious teacher too, much valued by his students.

            Tony’s formal career at Sussex took him from Assistant Lecturer to Pro­fessor of English in 1973, and then to Pro-Vice Chancellor in 1978; the last was an imaginative and excellent appointment, surprising as that might seem—he carried out an administrative job with the same commitment as he showed in his teaching and writing, and was well respected there too.  He moved to Oxford to a fellowship with a heavy teaching load, but became Professor of English there in 1992, and was made Fellow of the British Academy in 1997.

            Everyone will have their anecdote about Tony.  Mine is the memory of being in his office and noticing that the bottom drawer of his filing cabinet was la­belled ‘beer’.  He opened it, and sure enough it was completely filled by a crate of beer—it fitted in just nicely.

                                                                                                            Jennifer Platt

Newspaper obituaries:

The Independent, February 8th (Larry Lerner and Angela Lambert)

The Daily Telegraph, February 3rd (no author given)


Emeritus Titles:

Readers may be aware that for staff in semi-retirement, or for those who leave the University but retain connections with it, there is a variety of posts and titles that can be awarded, ranging from Associate Tutor to Honorary or Research Professor.  There are also Emeritus titles: Emeritus Professor, Reader, Senior Lecturer and Lecturer.  The rules are set out in the University’s Regulations on Titles for Academic Appointments, part of Ordinances and Regulations 2006–2007 which appear on the web at  All titles are time-limited, normally (for unpaid posts) to three years, apart from Emeritus titles which are for life.

It recently came to light that one colleague was awarded an Emeritus Profes­sorship for three years only.  That’s now being corrected, but a similar mistake may have occurred in other cases or may recur in future, as the forms on which heads of units apply for post-retirement titles state baldly that they are time-limited without noting the Emeritus exception.  My suggestion to the Director of Human Resources that recent awards of Emeritus titles be checked for this error has met with no re­sponse.  Those who have recently been made Emeritus might thus be well advised to check exactly what they’ve been awarded, and those about to enter the state should watch that what they get is correct.

                                                                                                Charles Goldie


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Suss-Ex is supported administratively by Roger Walkinton in the DARO (Develop­ment and Alumni Relations Office) at Bramber House (himself Euro 1977-81), on (01273) 876574 or


Newsletter produced by Roger Walkinton, Charles Goldie and Jennifer Platt, who should all be blamed for anything wrong with it.


Response Form


Please send your responses on the items below to: Roger Walkinton, Development & Alumni Relations Office, Bramber House,University of Sussex, Brighton BN1 9QU or


NAME: ________________________________________________


We prefer to communicate with you by e mail wherever possible, as it is faster and entails less work and expense.


Email (where possible): ___________________________________


For occasions where we need to send you tickets, or for when there appears to be a problem with your e-mail, please give a postal address.


Postal address: _________________________________________






If you can volunteer to identify possible new members in one of the sub­jects/areas listed on pp. 1–2, which area would that be?




Event forms are below and on the following page.  Members are welcome to bring partners to all events.


Friday 20 April, IDS: Talk by Simon Fanshawe, followed by supper


Simon Fanshawe is a Sussex alumnus, celebrity broadcaster, incoming chair of the University Council and chair of the Selection Committee for the next Vice-Chancellor.  The occasion starts with a welcoming drink from 7pm, followed by the talk at 7.30.  At 8.15 there will be a two-course meal and coffee in the IDS cafe (the bar will be open) for those who would like to remain.  The cost for the evening including the meal with be £15, payable by cheque made out to the University of Sussex, to be sent to Roger Walkinton by Friday 13th April.  The cost for the welcome drink and talk only will be £2, payable in cash on the night.


I would like ...... place(s) for (tick one):

Simon Fanshawe’s talk

                                                Simon Fanshawe’s talk and supper (chicken)

                                                Simon Fanshawe’s talk and supper (vegetable pie)

My cheque is enclosed (delete if appropriate).


An opportunity to benefit from David's unrivalled knowledge of our flora and fauna

 while you take some gentle exercise in the fresh air.

This walk will cover part of Ashdown Forest, starting at 10.30 am from ‘Friends’ car park (named as such on signboards) on the north side of the road from Nutley to Duddleswell at TQ 456288.

You can opt for the complete package of morning and afternoon walks with a refreshment break at a local pub; or the morning  or afternoon sections alone, with or without the pub.  The afternoon walk will start from the ‘Long’ Car park on the south side of the A22 at TQ 426312 (opposite the llama farm) at 2 pm.

Please register for this event by Friday 13th April.




Numbers to be registered


a.m. only




a.m. + pub. only




a.m. + pub. + p.m.




pub. + p.m. only




p.m.. only




Transport to and from meeting place  (Please indicate your situation.)

No problem


but I could not provide a lift.

I could give a lift to


one  / two  / three


from the university



I / we would need a lift


from the university






Wednesday 27 June: Guided visit to Wakehurst Place garden and Seed Bank

Assemble at the ticket counter in the gift shop at 10.30 for the tour, which will end by noon.  National Trust members enter free and others gain a group discount if they number at least 10.  Assuming we muster a group of 10 non-NT members, the total cost of admission and the tour will be £10.60 per person (NT members £2.50), pay­able on the day.  Please respond by Thursday 31st May.

Number of persons (not NT members): ........

Number of persons (NT members): ........


Transport to and from Wakehurst Place  (Please indicate your situation.)

No problem


but I could not provide a lift.

I could give a lift to


one  / two  / three


from the university



I / we would need a lift


from the university