Ron Ottewill was educated at Southall County School and at Queen Mary College, London, where he obtained a first-class honours degree in chemistry and then a PhD, under the supervision of Dr D. C. Jones. He moved to Cambridge (Fitzwilliam College) in 1952 on a Nuffield Fellowship, and joined the famous Colloid Science Department, which had been founded by Eric Rideal FRS. There Ron worked with Paley Johnson on antibody–antigen interactions, before becoming an assistant director of research in 1958. After a six-month spell in Theo Overbeek's laboratory in Utrecht during 1956, Ron's research interests turned to what was to become his main research theme over the years, namely the preparation, characterization and properties of model colloidal dispersions. In particular, he became interested in the interactions between particles, which underpin the stability of particulate dispersions. In 1964 Ron Ottewill was invited to move to Bristol University, in the main to set up a new one-year postgraduate MSc course in surface chemistry and colloids. At Bristol, Ron's research group expanded greatly, as did his international reputation. He was promoted to Reader in 1966 and to a personal chair in 1971. In 1982 he became the fourth Leverhulme Professor and Head of the Department of Physical Chemistry. He also served periods as Chair of the School of Chemistry and as Dean of Science. He received many prizes and honours, the two greatest being his election to the Fellowship of the Royal Society in 1982 and the award of an OBE in 1989. He was invited to give seminars and to collaborate with academia and with industry, all around the world. Outside the university he served on many committees and was involved in the foundation of several academic societies. Ron Ottewill supervised 99 successful PhD students and published more than 300 scientific papers. He formally retired in 1992 but retained an active interest in science till the last.
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