Elected F.R.S. 1980
Walter Thompson Welford (Walter Weinstein until 1957), born in London, left Hackney Technical Institute at the age of 16 years to become a technician at the London Hospital and later at Oxford University Biochemistry Department. In 1942, after obtaining a first–class honours external degree in mathematics from London University by private study, he returned to London to work at Adam Hilger Ltd. He moved to Imperial College, London, as a research assistant in 1947, became a lecturer in 1951, a senior lecturer in 1959, Reader in 1964 and Professor of Physics in 1973. He was elected a Fellow of The Royal Society in 1980. After formal retirement in 1983 he continued to be research active at Imperial College and the University of Chicago until his death from throat cancer in 1990.Walter's scientific work was in the craft of optical instrumentation, in which he became an internationally recognized master. His contributions ranged from basic aberration theory to the design, construction and testing of a vast range of optical instrumentation. His research fields were principally lens aberrations, optical microscopy, bubble chamber optics, laser speckle, non–imaging optics, diffraction gratings and diffractive lenses. Many will also remember him as a kindly and inspiring educator.