James Joseph Magennis VC Frances Elizabeth Clarke Stewart Parker Samuel Beckett Sam Hanna Bell William Carleton John Hewitt Rosamond Praegar Bernard (Barney) Hughes

Sir Arthur Vick (1911 - 1998):
Physicist; University administrator


Francis Arthur Vick was born at Solihull on 5th June, 1911, and educated at Waverley Grammar School, Birmingham, and Birmingham University, where he obtained an honours physics degree in 1932 and a PhD in solid state physics in 1936. From 1936 to 1944 he was an Assistant Lecturer and then Lecturer in Physics at University College London. During the Second World War he was transferred to the Ministry of Supply, becoming an Assistant Director of Research. In 1945 he was awarded the OBE for his contribution to science and national defence.

After the war Vick returned to the academic world as a Lecturer, and later Senior Lecturer, in Physics at Manchester University. In 1950 he was appointed Professor of Physics in the University College of North Staffordshire (now Keele University). There he served as Vice-Principal and Acting Principal from 1950 to 1954. He was also involved in the Institute of Physics, holding various positions including Vice-President and Honorary Secretary.

In 1959 Vick moved back into scientific administration, firstly as the Deputy Director of the Atomic Energy Research Establishment at Harwell, and then as its Director from 1960 to 1964. From 1964 until he returned to the academic world in 1966 he was Member for Research of the United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority, with responsibility for the Harwell, Culham and Wantage Laboratories. He continued to serve on several important committees, including as member of the Advisory Council on Research and Development of the Ministry of Power (1960-63) and the University Grants Committee (1959-66), as well as being President of the Association of Teachers in Colleges and Departments of Education from 1964 to 1972.

In 1966 Vick was appointed President and Vice-Chancellor of Queen's University, Belfast. During the following difficult Troubles years (he served 10 years at Queen's) and especially after 1969, he was able to preserve the non-sectarian atmosphere and traditions of the University. Amongst his contributions to the life of the University and the city and province more broadly, was his strong support for the new Queen's University Arts Festival, which was founded during his tenure, and which was to expand quite rapidly into a leading event of its kind anywhere in the British Isles. Vick served for 10 years as Vice-Chairman of the Arts Council of Northern Ireland.

With his own strong and successful background in industry, Vick was also keen on developing closer relationships between that sector and Queen's University, both internationally and in particular in Northern Ireland. He supported the creation of industrial advisory units to provide consultancy services, design and development and continuing education courses attuned to industrial need. He backed the development of a Low Cost Automation Centre and the Wolfson Signal Processing Centre, which after his retirement, together with the existing Materials Testing Station, became the Northern Ireland Technology Centre at Queen's. Three years before stepping down from Queen's in 1976, he was knighted for services to higher education in Northern Ireland.

Vick retired to live at Warwick, where he became closely involved with the University of Warwick, serving as Chairman of Council from 1977 until 1980) and Pro-Chancellor from 1977 until 1992. Among his many honours were honorary doctorates from the Universities of Keele, Birmingham, and Dublin, Kent and from Queen's University, Belfast. He was a member of the Royal Irish Academy, and a Knight Commander of the Liberian Humane Order of African Redemption. The Modern Records Centre, University of Warwick, houses a comprehensive collection of materials relating to his life and work, the Sir Arthur Vick Papers. He died at Warwick on 2nd September, 1998. His portrait by Michael Noakes is on display in the Great Hall, Queen's University, Belfast.



Born: 5 June 1911
Died: 2 September 1998
Richard Froggatt