Summary of Aberystwyth Experiences (1977 – 1983)


I was on excellent terms with my Ph. D. supervisor Mansel Davies, and the then head of Department of Chemistry at Aberystwyth, later the well known Sir John Meurig Thomas. By 1977 I had built up a strong reputation for myself as being one of Britain’s leading young chemists. So it was my wish to remain at Aberystwyth on tenure. This promising scene was destroyed very cynically by the late Howard Purnell, on whom primary blame should be put for several negative historical events. He just wanted to poach me from Aberystwyth to bolster his own weaker department at Swansea (now also closed). He set about this in a corrupt way which infuriated me then and now. Secondary blame must be put on the very weak Jeremy Jones, the last Head of Department of chemistry at Aberystwyth. Both have disappeared into complete obscurity. Blame for the closure of the Edward Davies Chemical Laboratories (EDCL) must be put primarily on ill advised Government policies, then on the Departments of physics and mathematics at Aberystwyth, who organize the closure of the EDCL, again in a very cynical, selfish way. My own performance from 1977 to 1983 is well known to be outstanding, and if I had not have had the bad luck of being employed by terminally weak and hostile management, I would have stayed at Aberystwyth. I am on excellent terms with other former EDCL staff. One of these is Daniel Davies, who kindly posted my BBC Hall of Fame entry. It is not possible to measure the impact being made by the physics department at Aberystwyth at present. By impact I mean effective measures monitored by activity feedback as for ECE. I cannot see how any healthy faculty of science can exist without a chemistry department. Therefore Aberystwyth’s best science department, chemistry, was destroyed by the infighting that developed in the era 1978 to about 1988, when the EDCL closed. This departmental infighting was all about survival, the need to keep on having a salary and safe tenure and so forth. There was no idealism at all, it was all brutal pragmatism and worse. These days Aberystwyth is not recognizable as a university that serves the People of Wales. There is a need for a proper Welsh language university. The name change from University College of Wales Aberystwyth to University of Aberystwyth just reflects the destruction of the unique federal structure intended for the University of Wales. This is a very negative development for Wales.

Glyn Eithrym


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