Development & Alumni Relations Office 

Alan Stirling Dickinson BSc Applied Mathematics (died 31 August 2010)

BSc Applied Mathematics 1964, PhD in Theoretical Atomic Physics 1967, died on 31 August 2010, aged 66.

Alan was born in Dublin, where his father worked for the Ulster Bank.  As his father was transferred around the country, Alan received his secondary education first at the Christian Brothers school in Westport and then at Dungannon Royal School.  At Queen’s he was awarded a 1st Class Honours BSc and the prize for the top student in Applied Mathematics in 1964.  He gained his PhD in Queen's Applied Mathematics Department.

He then spent a year at the Theoretical Chemistry Institute, University of Wisconsin and returned to Queen's for a short time as Assistant Lecturer before being appointed Lecturer at the University of Stirling.  In 1976 he moved to the University of Newcastle where he progressed to become Professor of Theoretical Atomic Physics from 1991 until his retirement in 2008. Although for most of this time he was Newcastle's only theoretical atomic physicist, he developed a network of collaborators around the world, tackling a wide range of problems from first principles.

Sadly both his mother and her father had multiple sclerosis (MS), which prompted Alan to volunteer with the MS Society.  He was Honorary Treasurer of his local branch for nearly 28 years.  He gave crystal clear financial advice and on non-financial matters his humanity shone through: he always showed a feel for what would really benefit the individual with MS.

Tributes can be found at:

He is survived by his wife, Heather (née Knox), their two daughters and his brother, David.



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