Death of David Pettifor

20 Oct 2017

David Pettifor

We are very sad to share the news that David Pettifor, an Emeritus Fellow at St Edmund Hall and a superb scientist, died on Tuesday 17 October. David came to Oxford in 1991, from the Mathematics Department in Imperial on his appointment to the Isaac Wolfson Professorship in the Department of Materials. He was also appointed to a Professorial Fellowship in the Hall.

David obtained his first degrees from the University of Witwatersrand in South Africa and his PhD from the University of Cambridge. In 1994 he was made a Fellow of the Royal Society. David played a key role in the dialogue between physicists and metallurgists. His research linked first-principles quantum mechanical calculations to physical and chemical intuition. His pioneering ideas on the cohesion and structure of metals and alloys are found in standard textbooks indicating the lasting impact of his work. David created ‘structure maps’ which determine which crystal structure an alloy will form. He was a world authority on materials modelling and helped established the Oxford Materials Modelling Laboratory.

David was made a CBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours in 2005 and was appointed an Emeritus Fellow at the Hall in 2010.

Our thoughts and deepest sympathy are with David’s family at this time. The family’s wish is for a quiet, private funeral for family and close friends only. However, there will be a memorial event at the Hall in the future, and we will ensure that the details are communicated to former colleagues and students as soon as they are known.

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