5 May 2017
Dr Russell Binions, who was a leading figure in SCI and the SCI London Section (later the SCI London Regional Group) died in April at the tragically early age of 38. Russell was recruited to the London Section in the year 2000 by then Chairman Eric Wharton. Eric had found his niche as a proponent of young scientists and recruited many younger SCI members to the London Section committee.
With Russell as Group Treasurer and Oliver De Peyer as Chairman, they quickly established that attendance at SCI London events was very low and endeavoured to find SCI London a new home. As Russell was based at UCL Chemistry Department they were already in contact with UCL’s Chemical Physical Society (CPS), which to all intents and purposes is a learned society within UCL and almost as old as the SCI London Section itself. Russell forged a highly productive relationship between SCI London and CPS, and to this day a great majority of SCI London Group events are held jointly with CPS at UCL, with a lively turnout of active researchers at all stages of their careers. After a brief career in the precision optics industry, Russell spent many highly successful years as a researcher at UCL, culminating as Chairman of CPS in 2010-2011. To this day, the London committee has an excellent spread of experience and many young faces, often drawn from joint SCI and CPS members.
Russell moved from a Research Fellowship at UCL in 2012 to the position of Lecturer in the Materials Department of Queen Mary University London, where he continued his research and teaching activities. Russell was also active on committee of the SCI Materials Group since 2004, where he served also as Treasurer and Secretary. He was also elected to the SCI-MAC committee (2009-2013).
In his professional work, Russell made a huge contribution as a chemist in the field of Chemical Vapour Deposition - others will no doubt write more fitting tributes there, as will perhaps the many other SCI committees and other learned societies that Russell was active in. Russell was truly a renaissance man, with many hobbies and friends, and we will miss him dearly. With some pride, he once showed a grant reviewer’s comment, who, feeling so passionately that Russell’s work should be funded, had stated that if not ‘we might as well go back to banging rocks together’.