Lewis Roberts was a distinguished nuclear chemist and outstanding leader in the development of science and technology. He read chemistry at Oxford, where he graduated with an honours BA and then conducted research for a DPhil on the separation of actinides. Actinide chemistry formed the central theme of his work for the next 20 years, during which he conducted pioneering research into the thermodynamic properties and structures of actinide oxides. In 1968 he underwent a major career change, moving into senior management at Harwell and eventually becoming Director in 1975. During this period he showed outstanding judgement and leadership first in developing the non-nuclear industrial programme at Harwell and then in leading the laboratory through a time of great change. In addition to his executive responsibilities as Director, Roberts played a major role in influencing the nuclear industry’s approach to the difficult issue of nuclear waste management, a particularly important achievement being the setting up of NIREX under his chairmanship. In his mid sixties Roberts made a further major career change in moving to the Chair of Environmental Risk Assessment at the University of East Anglia. This allowed him to widen his interest in risk and environmental issues and to apply this to areas outside the nuclear field.
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