Obituary for Nigel Weiss

June 26, 2020, from Natasha Jeffrey

Prof. Mike Proctor FRS,
DAMTP, University of Cambridge
Provost of Kings College


Prof Nigel Weiss FRS (1936-2020)

Nigel Weiss, who died earlier this week after a fall at his home, was born
on 16 December 1936, in South Africa. He was educated at Hilton College,
Natal, then Rugby School and Clare College Cambridge.He began his research
career studying seismic tremors, supervised by Edward Bullard, but switched
to the study of magnetohydrodynamics. After a spell at Culham Laboratory,
during which time he pioneered the use of stable numerical codes for
solving MHD problems, he was the first to demonstrate the mechanism of flux
expulsion by rotating eddies. He then came to Cambridge as a lecturer in
DAMTP, and a Fellow of Clare. He became a world authority on the physics of
sunspots, and mechanisms driving the 22 year solar cycle. He made important
contributions to the study of the nonlinear dynamics of convection, and led
a long term programme to understand the interaction of compressible
convection and magnetic fields. He became a Professor at Cambridge in 1987
and was elected to the Royal Society in 1992. He served as President of the
Royal Astronomical Society from 2000-2002, and received the Society’s
highest honour, the Gold Medal, in 2007. Apart from his academic work, he
was a member of the National Gallery Scientific consultative group from

Nigel’s cheerful and generous approach to his subject will be much missed
by his many former students and colleagues, both in Britain and around the
world. He leaves his wife Judy, a son and two daughters and five

Condolence messages can be sent to Helen Mason (