Elected FRS 1964
There were two dominant scientific passions in Jimmie Beament's life: insect physiology and the mechanism of hearing (and psychoacoustics). These accompanied his other passions – his family, music, and Queen's College, Cambridge. Throughout his career, Jimmie's research field remained very much his own, covering permeability and respiration in insects, orientation of lipids, the resistance of insect eggs to desiccation and to insecticides; and latterly the surface adhesion of pollen and the interaction of plant surfaces with rain. Jimmie never had time for research that needed the newest, biggest or most expensive bits of kit. Rather he preferred to choose problems that had never been solved because the means of attacking the problem did not exist. Thus Jimmie (with collaborators such as R. H. J. Brown & K. E. Machin) designed and built innovative, specialized equipment – he was a precision engineer as well as a scientist. Every strand of his life reflected his extraordinary energy and his desire always to move onwards. As in his science, so in his artistic life: from acting to music, first writing revues then as a performer; followed by serious composition and significant works on the theory of hearing and instruments.
Above all Jimmie was a polymath – one of an increasingly rare breed of scientists who have a broad understanding of science … and more.