Elected FRS 1964
‘Fred Stewart was charming, canny, perceptive, patient, incisive, highly intelligent, ever so stubborn and completely laid-back’, was the opening assessment of Gordon Craig, his friend and close associate for several decades, in his obituary for The Scotsman on 14 December 2001. All that and a keen sense of humour came into play on an occasion during a game of chess on the London–Edinburgh express when for once I had the upper hand and launched a sacrificial attack. hI can take that rook’, said Fred, engrossed over the board. ‘Are you sure that you can afford to lose it?’ After a few more rounds of this, Fred gave in, looked up with a mischievous grin and was duly checkmated – but his philosophy was that there was no point in giving in until you are quite certain that your opponent knows that he has won and, moreover, is absolutely sure that he has won. I was a junior lecturer at the time, but learning fast. Fred was Regius Professor of Geology but maintained an informal relationship with staff that was unfamiliar but very welcome after my previous institution.