William Joseph Elford FRS (1900-1952)

William Joseph Elford joined the Applied Optics Department in 1925. To assist Patrick Laidlaw’s team in Experimental Pathology and Bacteriology, he designed fine membranes for the separation of viruses from bacteria. In 1935 he joined that Department full-time. During World War Two, Elford applied his physicochemical expertise to the development of antiseptic aerosols and to studies on Rickettsia, the causative organism of typhus. Elford took over the lead in optics from Joseph Barnard in 1942 – as part of A.S. McFarlane’s Department of Biophysics and Physical Chemistry. In 1948 Elford formed the fledgling Division of Physical Chemistry, together with JE Hotchin. Elford was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society a year or so before his death, aged only 52, in 1952. Elford was remembered for his “quiet and retiring personality” as well as his “scientific enthusiasm and a capacity for painstaking critical investigation second to none.”

William Joseph Elford
William Joseph Elford

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