Links from  :  Hugh Montgomery  

Hugh and history

Dear ,

What impresses me most about Dick Sillitto is his utter integrity.
When I came to Edinburgh in 1967 with no experience of University teaching behind me, he gave me a warm friendly welcome and helped to guide me into the ways of the department. (They were different in those days!)
When I got things right he encouraged me, and when I got things wrong he told me so firmly, but with good humour and without malice.
The essential fun of physics shines through his personality, and I’m grateful for the many things I’ve learnt from him.

Hugh Montgomery

 Hugh, I've just found the photographs you produced, long ago, of designs made by the strange structure you built in your house to show the effects of coupled vibrations.
They show lovely moiré effects too.

Second-year lab was fun in those days!  
Thanks for these reminders,  

Hugh comments:

As regards the pendulum pictures, by all means do whatever you like with them. The "strange structure" you mention was known at the the time as the Ely Lantern, not very accurately as its great original is of course octagonal, but never mind. I remember my dear mother's comment: "I do like the pattern on the curtains in the background". It was all a great waste of time, but as you say it was fun.

In my old age I have returned to the well worn battlefield of classical electromagnetism - find myself at variance with the powerful tribe of Lorrain - but my cries in the wilderness will have little effect. Will send you a draft for your amusement when it's finished.

       All good wishes
Tribute by Hugh's sister
Lesley Le Claire
Hugh died peacefully in Edinburgh on 23 March 2008.

His sister and his step-son write
"He will be sorely missed on so many different levels; as brother, grandpa and in-law to his (extended) family and as teacher, friend and story teller to countless others!" and I, and our son, certainly will never forget his kindness, humour and erudition.
                   Thank you, Hugh,

Links from  :  Stuart Pawley  


Kirkton on the map

Stuart's current ploy!

Dear ,

Here's a little story I recall from aeons ago.
I must have been still wet behind the ears, as it was Drummond Street days, but had been here long enough to be most impressed by Dick's lectures. When remarking on this to a young student, she said she didn't like his lectures!
Why?   Well, I listen to them fully and think I can follow everything from start to finish, but then I can't understand my notes!
Those were the days, before all the spoonfeeding.

Best wishes to a dear octogenarian,


Stuart kindly allowed many of his colleagues
to use the old cottage he rescued, on the Road to the Isles.

shinty at Kirkton - click to enlarge

We probably took these poor pictures there in 1975
- as with anglers and gardeners, the best ones have got away -
but they may remind you of the kitchen window with its view of
the 'back garden'

kitchen sink at Kirkton  Kirkton, Lochalsh, 'garden'  front of house at Kirkton 
the outhouses at Kirkton

Many thanks, Stuart, from us all.
Your present garden must be just as much work, but more rewarding!

from : Peter Brand  

Peter and astro-physics


Here are a few words that your father inspired

Of many fond reminiscences of Dick Sillitto, from his infection in me of a lifelong love of quantum mechanics, to gentle – if tongue in cheek -- discussion of the way things are done nowadays, I would like to describe how he disarmed an extremely nervous and over-awed undergraduate during a laboratory session in Drummond Street. The student wanted to discuss some point of concern in the quantum mechanics course. I was that student, and my opening remarks went pretty much like "sssssssssssss ... ". Dick seemed to regard this as a perfectly normal mode of address, and gently replied "Built up quite a head of steam then?" after which it seemed very easy to converse.

In my study, and particularly in my teaching of physics, I have tried to live up to the way Dick did things; he is to me the embodiment of what an excellent academic should be, and I wish him a very happy 80th birthday.

Peter Brand

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