Royal Society Publishing

John Stewart Bell. 28 July 1928 – 1 October 1990

Philip G. Burke, Ian C. Percival

Elected F.R.S. 1972


John Stewart Bell, the second of four children of John and Annie Bell (née Brownlee), was born in Belfast on 28 July 1928. The families of both his parents were Protestant, his father's family coming from Fermanagh and his mother's from Tyrone. Originally, Annie Bell's family had come from Scotland and John Bell's second Christian name was that of her family. At home, John Bell was always known as Stewart, only becoming John when he went to university. John Bell's family were not well off, his father being sent out to work before he was twelve years old to help the family finances. However, John Bell's father and mother always impressed on John, his elder sister Ruby and his two younger brothers David and Robert the importance of education. Later, David, through evening study, became a qualified electrical engineer and a professor at Lambton College in Canada, writing several very successful textbooks; Robert is now a successful Northern Ireland businessman.