19 Oct 2016
It is with regret that SCI announces the peaceful death after a short illness of Professor Ken Sing, BSc, PhD, DSc, FRSC. Ken had been a member of SCI since 1947, serving as Vice President 1982-1984, as well as being a member of the SCI Council, Chairman of the SCI Publications and Awards Committees, and Chairman of the IUPAC Commission I.6 on Colloid and Surface Chemistry (1983-85). Ken’s many awards include the SCI Lampitt Medal and Jubilee Lecturer, and the Eric Rideal award (1982). He was also a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry.
Born in Bideford, North Devon, in 1925, he took a first class honours degree from the University College of the South West of England, Exeter, in 1945, followed by his PhD under the supervision of Dr S J Gregg, with whom he co-authored one of the standard textbooks on the topic, Adsorption, Surface Area and Porosity.
His work in this area was well-known, with David Nicholson reflecting that ‘Ken's contributions to adsorption science were formidable and will outlive him for a long time.’ His efforts were also noted by a group of prominent Russian scientists, who observed that Sing ‘contributed greatly to developing theoretical foundations of adsorption methods to determine the geometrical characteristics of dispersive and porous solids’ and that his book was considered the ‘height of science’ in the field.
Ken worked at ICI Ltd in 1948 but, after one year, took a lectureship position at the Royal Technical College in Salford where he stayed till 1956. He then became head of the Department of Chemistry at Liverpool College of Technology from 1956-65 and, after that, Professor of Chemistry at Brunel University from 1965-90, when he retired. He held visiting professor roles at the Universities of Bristol, Exeter, Melbourne, Mainz and Kentucky, and was a visiting scientist role at the CNRS in Marseille, France. Ken has also acted as consultant and collaborated with various industrial companies in the UK and abroad. He gave many plenary and invited lectures at international conferences and on short-courses.
SCI will miss Professor Sing’s contribution to science and our society. Our thoughts are with his family at this sad time.