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British Industrial History

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Richard Gregory

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Sir Richard Arman Gregory (1864-1952)

1922 He accepted the position of president of the Decimal Association in succession to the late Lord Belhaven and Stenton.[1]

1952 Obituary [2]

For many years, Sir Richard Gregory has occupied a distinguished place among this country's scientists. His death, which occurred on Monday last, September 15th, at the Manor House, Middleton-on-Sea, at the great age of eighty-eight, will be deeply regretted by scientists, engineers and laymen alike. He will be particularly well remembered as the Editor of our contemporary Nature, which position he held for twenty years until his retirement in 1939.

Richard Arman Gregory was born in Bristol on January 29, 1864, and received his early education at an elementary school in that city. Subsequently, he attended evening classes and took a course for teachers at the Royal College of Science, South Kensington. For a few years, Gregory was an assistant in the Physical Laboratory at Clifton College, and later, for a year, was a science demonstrator at H.M. Dockyard School, Portsmouth.

In 1889, Richard Gregory had the opportunity of becoming assistant to Sir Norman Lockyer, Professor of Astronomy at the Royal College of Science. His duties included acting as computor to the Solar Physics Committee, and he also undertook work for Nature, which Sir Norman had founded in 1869, and of which be was the Editor. Sir Richard became Assistant Editor of Nature in 1893, and succeeded to the editorial chair in 1919 when Sir Norman Lockyer retired.

Sir Richard's contributions to the scientific literature of this century were numerous. Not only did they reveal his clear understanding of problems concerned with physics, chemistry and astronomy-which were his particular interest-but they showed, too, his urge to do all that was possible to advance the cause of general and scientific education.

For five years or so at an earlier stage of his career, Sir Richard was an Oxford University extension lecturer, and he was also Joint Editor of The School World and the Journal of Education. He was president of many scientific and educational societies, including the Geographical Association, the Science Masters' Association, the Gilbert White Fellowship, the Education Guild, and the Conference of Educational Associations.

In addition, he was for twenty-eight years the chairman of the Norman Lockyer Observatory Corporation. Another important part of Sir Richard's work was that associated with the British Science Guild, which was founded in 1905, and the work of which was merged with that of the British Association some thirty years later.

Sir Richard was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1933, and in 1939 he was elected president of the British Association for the Advancement of Science, of which he had been a member for many years. His election was announced at the annual meeting in Dundee which opened when the second world war was imminent and which had to be abandoned on account of the state of emergency. Sir Richard continued as president of the Association until 1946.

In recognition of his many achievements in the cause of science, Sir Richard received the honorary degree of D.Sc. from the universities of Bristol and Leeds, and LL.D. from the University of St. Andrews. He was created a Knight in 1919 and a Baronet in 1931.

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