Royal Society Publishing

Frederick Sydney Dainton. 11 November 1914 — 5 December 1997

P. Gray, K.J. Ivin

Elected F.R.S. 1957


Frederick Sydney Dainton, Baron Dainton of Hallam Moors, was a physical chemist of international renown specializing in the fields of chain reactions, polymerization and radiation chemistry. Both formidable and friendly, and enormously industrious, his contributions to public life in this country spanned more than thirty years. When in his eighties, he commenced and very nearly completed a fascinating and attractive autobiography (to be published in 2000 by Sheffield Academic Press), which Lady Dainton has generously made available to us and on which we have drawn heavily, especially for his childhood years and for his illuminating description of the inception and development of The British Library. Among his papers, now lodged at the University of Sheffield, were found ‘some notes for the assistance of the unfortunate person charged with the task of writing my Biographical Memoir for The Royal Society’. These too we have found extremely useful, especially for the section on scientific publications. In his time Fred, as he became universally known, had written or co-written the memoirs of R.G.W. Norrish (1981), G.B. Kistiakowsky (1985) and N.N. Semenov (1990) and knew what a difficult task it could be without the assistance of any such notes. It was part of his nature to be as practically helpful as he could to other people and we are grateful for that.

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