Mansel Davies


He was my Ph. D. supervisor and was educated at Aberystwyth and Cambridge, where he became a Fellow of Peterhouse. He was among the first to observe an infra red spectrum, and at the Edward Davies Chemical Laboratories in the then University College of Wales in Aberystwyth built up a unique dielectrics laboratory covering many decades of frequency. He refused the offer of an F.R.S. because he thought that this would artificially elevate him above fellow scientists, and because he was not impressed by the quality of Fellows of the Royal Society. Similarly he was not impressed by the run of the mill people who sometimes won Nobel Prizes, calling it a club like any other. He learned the Welsh language and was regarded with universal respect by scientists, and by intellectuals such as Bertrand Russell, Aldous Huxley, and H. G. Wells. A fuller account of his career is available in the books by Kerry Pendergast on this site. I became his Ph. D. student in 1971 after graduating the top first in chemistry, and my Ph. D. Thesis is on the Omnia Opera of this site. Mansel described this as one of the two best Ph. D. ‘ s he had supervised, and he supervised several colleagues of real ability. His first student was Harry Hallam, and his last student was Colin Reid. He asked me to supervise Gareth Evans and Colin Reid on his behalf, when he neared retirement age, and I was glad to do so. He would have been enraged by the overt intellectual dishonesty of a puerile electronic rag called wikipedia which maligns leading intellectuals and original thinkers.


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