Articles | Volume 25, issue 1
01 Apr 2006
 | 01 Apr 2006

On the award of TMS Honorary Membership, 26 November 2005 Professor John Murray – an appreciation

John E. Whittaker and Elisabeth Alve

Abstract. Contrary to popular belief, Professor John Murray and Sir John Murray (of Challenger fame) are not one and the same person. To begin with, their careers are separated by almost a century, but our Professor John Murray (B.Sc., ARCS, Ph.D., DIC, D.Sc) is hardly less renowned in today’s world of micropalaeontology, especially with regards to ecological studies of the foraminifera.

John William Murray was born in London in 1937. Most of his childhood was however spent in Bury (now Greater Manchester), having been evacuated in WW2, before he moved back to Worthing, Sussex, when he was 16. As a child he had been seriously interested in microscopy and geology, and therefore it was not surprising that when he went up to university, he chose to read Pure Geology at Imperial College, University of London, in 1956. There, someone showed him some foraminifera in a First Year practical and he hasn’t been able to keep away from them since! Not only did he get a First, but he won several prizes (the Murchison Medal, the Watts Medal and the Clement Le Neve Foster Prize) as well. On graduation he was offered the chance to undertake a Ph.D. in micropalaeontology, under David Carter. He chose to study the ecology of Recent foraminifera, which for the time was highly unusual. The result, a seasonal study of the living foraminifera of a small estuary (Christchurch Harbour, now in Dorset) was a seminal one. He was even kind enough, subsequently, to lend one of us . . .