History Committee

Since it's inaugural meeting in 2015, the History Committee has been tasked with compiling historical timelines, overseeing the RMS collections and managing the RMS archives.

Find out more about the Science Heritage Collection


Committee Members

  • Dr John Hutchison HonFRMS

    History Committee Chair

    University of Oxford
    John’s involvement with the RMS started 40 years ago when his micrograph entry won first prize in the 1974 competition. He was awarded a Certificate and the Glauert Medal by the then President Gerard L’E Turner.

    John joined the Materials Science Section in 1984, and later the Electron Microscopy Section. Following a six year stint as Executive Honorary Secretary, he was elected President for the period 2002 – 2004, during which time he had the opportunity to present Gerard L’E Turner with an Honorary Fellowship, almost 30 years after receiving his own competition prize from him!

    In 2014, to mark the Society's 175th anniversary, John wrote a specially commissioned book 'Moving Forward' highlighting the Society's activities from 1989-2014, bridging the gap from God Bless the Microscope! by Gerard L'E Turner

  • Prof Paul Brown

    University of Nottingham
    Prof Paul D Brown (PDB) is Professor of Materials Characterisation, Director of Research Equipment (Faculty of Engineering), & Co-Director of the Nanoscale & Microscale Research Centre (nmRC) at the University of Nottingham (UoN).  The nmRC hosts a suite of ~ 20 high-tech analytical facilities (accessed by > 800 users), enabling a broad range of interdisciplinary materials science research programmes of interest to the engineering, physical and life sciences communities. PDB was previously member of the RMS Council (2003-2006), and the IoP EMAG committee (1999-2008) including terms as Honorary Secretary / Treasurer (2002–2004) and Chairman (2004-2006). PDB is a Fellow of the Institute of Physics and was awarded DSc by UoN in 2014. PDB’s research interests are in innovative methods in EM imaging and analysis with emphasis on interrelationships between the processing, structure and properties of materials, down to the nanoscale

  • Professor Grace Burke

    RMS President

    University of Manchester
    Grace joined the University of Manchester as Director of the interdisciplinary Materials Research Centre and Professor of Materials Performance in the School of Materials in September, 2011.  She was also Director of the Electron Microscopy Centre from 2012 through 2016. Grace is a physical metallurgist for whom microstructural characterisation has always represented an integral and fundamental component of research into materials performance.  She obtained her BS in Metallurgical Engineering from the University of Pittsburgh, and her PhD in Metallurgy from Imperial College of Science and Technology where her SCC research work included analytical, high voltage and in situ electron microscopy.  Grace then joined the US Steel Research Laboratory where she conducted research on ferrous alloys including the use of atom probe field-ion microscopy as a complementary technique to AEM in the investigation of commercially important materials.

    Subsequently, Grace joined the Westinghouse Science & Technology Centre where she applied of combinations of AEM and APFIM techniques to a broader range of nuclear and power generation materials.  In 1994 she joined the Bettis Atomic Power Laboratory in order to focus her research on the environment-sensitive behaviour of engineering alloys in nuclear reactors, and, in 2009, was the first woman to be promoted to the highest scientific position, Consultant.

    Since joining Manchester, Grace has continued her to employ her established portfolio of advanced techniques to address a range of materials issues, returning to utilize in situ TEM  to now investigate precursor reactions of material degradation liquids and gases.  Grace was the 2005 President of the Microscopy Society of America and has been a Fellow of RMS since 1988. She is also a Fellow of ASM International, the Microscopy Society of America, the Microanalysis Society, IOM3 (UK), and TMS (USA).

  • Dr Peter Evennett HonFRMS

    Honorary Archivist

    University of Leeds (retired)
    Peter took his first degree in Zoology at the University of Liverpool, and his PhD at St Andrews, during which time his interests in microscopy developed. He lectured in Zoology at the University of Leeds for 30 years, with a particular interest in animal physiology and histology, cell biology and light and electron microscopy. He retired early from the University and since then has concentrated on his interests in microscopy, including teaching for the RMS and other organisations at home and abroad. He is particularly interested in finding simple ways of teaching and demonstrating the fundamental principles of the microscope to both professional and amateur microscopists. He has taken part in the RMS’s schools’ Outreach activities from the start, and assists in raising funds by recycling redundant equipment to amateur microscopists. Peter has been a member of the RMS for many years, and is an Honorary Fellow of the Society.

  • Dr Chris Hammond

    Keeper of the Collection

    University of Leeds (retired)
    Chris, formerly Senior Lecturer in Materials at the University of Leeds, has had a long association with the RMS. Together with a small group of council members he was involved in the establishment of the AMFES initiative in 1995, from which the Outreach and Education programme has largely grown. His motivation is the belief that a child's curiosity about the natural world can be nurtured, from the simplest level, by the observations and discoveries which can be made with the microscope.
    In 2015, Chris was awarded the first RMS President's Medal.

  • Dr Lynne Joyce

    Past RMS Honorary Treasurer - Invited to attend

    Prior to retiring in 2014 Dr Lynne Joyce was Director of Market Development at Agar Scientific. Lynne graduated with a BA in Biology from the University of York and was awarded her PhD in Plant Sciences­ from the University of Newcastle. Her first position was with the Lord Rank Research Centre (Rank Hovis McDougall) in High Wycombe where she worked initially on the wheat breeding program and then trained in the electron microscopy unit with Roger Angold. In 1982 she joined Agar Aids (now Agar Scientific) to work with company-founder Alan Agar and was soon appointed Sales Director and then later in 1992 Managing Director, a position she held until 2008.
    Lynne became a member of the RMS in 1987 and was invited to join the Trade Advisory Committee (now known as the Corporate Advisory Board) in 1992, where she was an active member until her retirement. Lynne first term as Honorary Treasurer began in 1995 and ran for 10 years (the maximum term permitted).

  • Mr Chris Kennedy

    RMS Honorary Historian

  • Professor Michelle Peckham

    Executive Honorary Secretary

    University of Leeds
    Michelle is Professor of Cell Biology in the Faculty of Biological Sciences. She obtained a BA in Physiology of Organisms at the University of York, and a PhD in Physiology at University College London. She moved to King's College London, and started to use a specialised form of light microscopy (birefringence) to investigate muscle crossbridge orientation. She then worked at UCSF, San Francisco for a year, where she used fluorescence polarisation to investigate muscle crossbridges. She moved back to the UK, to the University of York, to work on insect flight muscle. In 1990 she was awarded a Royal Society University Research fellowship, based at King's College London, and began working on the cell and molecular biology of muscle development, and started to use live cell imaging to investigate muscle cell behaviour in cultured cells, and confocal microscopy to investigate their cytoskeleton. She collaborated with Graham Dunn to use Digitally Recorded Interference Microscopy with Automatic Phase Shifting (DRIMAPS) to investigate cell crawling behaviour. She moved to Leeds in 1997 as a Lecturer, and has continued to use a wide range of both light and electron microscopy approaches to investigate the molecular motors and the cytoskeleton.

  • Prof Tony Wilson HonFRMS

    University of Oxford
    Tony Wilson is a former President of the Society and a previous General Editor of the Journal of Microscopy. His research in optical microscopy has the overall aim of developing a variety of high resolution imaging techniques for applications in areas ranging from the life sciences to industrial metrology. His main interest lies in the theory and implementation of scanning optical microscopes and, in particular, the development of and applications of confocal microscopy. He and his colleagues have introduced a number of diverse techniques into confocal microscopy such as fibre optics, laser feedback, extended depth-of-focus imaging, fast aberration free optical focussing and adaptive optics. The structured illumination technique as other ‘light efficient’ methods of obtaining optical sectioning have been commercialised from his laboratory. He is Professor of Engineering Science and a Fellow of Hertford College at the University of Oxford. Professor Tony Wilson is an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Microscopical Society and Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering in recognition of his seminal contributions to confocal microscopy, arguably one of the most significant advances in light microscopy in the last century.


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