The late A.J.S “Bill” Williams MBE honoured as Fellow

Peter Williams collecting Honorary Fellowship in memory of his brother Bill Williams, from Aberystwyth University Treasurer Dr Timothy Brain OBE

Peter Williams collecting Honorary Fellowship in memory of his brother Bill Williams, from Aberystwyth University Treasurer Dr Timothy Brain OBE

15 July 2016

The late A.J.S “Bill” Williams MBE (1920-2016) has been posthumously honoured as Fellow of Aberystwyth University. 

In 2014 Bill was named as one of the Royal Society of Chemistry’s 175 Faces of Chemistry, in recognition of the work he did educating more than 80,000 schoolchildren during his long career at Aberystwyth University from 1950-2011.

As part of a Royal Society of Chemistry initiative to encourage interest in science among 10–12 year olds, Bill devised the demonstration lecture ‘Science and Energy’, which demonstrates that energy occurs in different forms which are interconvertible, with the pupils performing all the experiments. The lecture was given all over the country on some 800 occasions.

Bill passed away in May 2016, aged 95 years.  The Honorary Fellowship was collected by his brother Peter Williams in his memory.

The presentation was made by Professor Andrew Evans of the Institute of Mathematics, Physics and Computer Science.

Presentation of A.J.S “Bill” Williams

Trysorydd, Is-Ganghellor, darpar raddedigion, gyfeillion.  Pleser o’r mwyaf yw cyflwyno’r achos dros dderbyn AJS (Bill) Williams yn Gymrawd Prifysgol Aberystwyth.

Treasurer, Vice-Chancellor, prospective graduates and supporters.  It is an honour and a privilege to present the case for Bill Williams as a Fellow of Aberystwyth University.

Er yn bleser, mae hefyd tristwch yn fy nyletswydd heddiw.

The pleasure is however tainted by sadness as Bill passed away in his 95th year in May this year.

Cofiwn Bill fel un o’r cyfathrebwyr gorau mae’r byd gwyddoniaeth wedi gweld.

Bill was one our great science communicators, a fact recognised by his selection as one of the Royal Society of Chemistry’s 175 faces of Chemistry in 2014.

Cychwynodd ei yrfa disglair fel athro gyda’r awyrlu frenhinol yn ystod yr ail rhyfel byd.

After six years as a flying instructor with the RAF he came to Aberystwyth and graduated in 1950 with a first class degree in Chemistry. He then became a lecturer in organic chemistry, and later senior lecturer, always a popular and inspirational member of the department until his retirement. 

Roedd yn amhosib iddo i rhoi’r gorau i ddysgu ar ol ymddeol.

On his retirement, he continued to enthuse our students with his passion for Chemistry. As an honorary tutorial fellow in IBERS, he continued to inspire students in IBERS as recently as last year.

Mae wedi ysbrydioli sawl cenhedlaeth o wyddonwyr ar draws y wlad a bydd llawer yn cofio ei ddarlithoedd arbennig i bobl ifanc.  Rwy’n falch iawn y cefais siawns rhai blynyddoedd yn ol i ddiolch iddo am rhoi’r hwb i mi, fel un o’r bobol ifanc hynny, i ddilyn gyrfa mewn gwyddoniaeth.

He inspired generations of young scientists across the country with his wonderful lectures; I had the honour to introduce his ‘Science and Energy’ lecture on many occasions, and I remember coming to Aberystwyth as a teenager to hear his lecture on ‘Experiments and Considerations Touching Colours’, and going home to South Wales convinced to become a scientist.

His enthusiasm and commitment brought many awards, including his MBE for Services to Science and to Young people, the Michael Faraday Award Lecture, the B D Shaw Bronze medal and the RSC Silver Medal for Achievement in the Promotion of Chemistry.

Trysorydd, pleser o’r mwyaf yw gwahodd Peter Williams i dderbyn tystysgrif Cymrodoriaeth Prifysgol Aberystwyth ar ran Bill Williams

Treasurer, it is my absolute pleasure to invite Peter Williams to accept this certificate of Fellowship of Aberystwyth University on behalf of Bill Williams.

Aberystwyth University Honours 2016

Twelve individuals are being honoured by Aberystwyth University during the 2016 graduation ceremonies, which take place at the University’s Arts Centre from Tuesday 12 July until Friday 15 July.

Eight Honorary Fellowships will be presented to individuals who have, or have had a connection with Aberystwyth or Wales, and who have made an outstanding contribution to their chosen field.

One Honorary Doctorate degree will be presented.  These are presented to individuals who have been outstandingly successful in their field, or who have a long record of renowned research and publication.

Three Honorary Bachelor degrees will be presented.  These are presented to individuals who are members of Aberystwyth University staff without an entry-level degree in recognition of long-service, contribution and dedication to the Institution; and members of the local community who have made a significant contribution to Aberystwyth and the area.

Also being honoured are:

Honorary Fellowships:

Dr Catherine Bishop, triple Olympian, international conflict diplomat and experienced speaker and facilitator

Natasha Devon MBE, writer, campaigner, television pundit, and founder of the Self Esteem Team

Professor Julian Dowdeswell, Director of the Scott Polar Research Institute and a Professor of Physical Geography at the University of Cambridge

Charmian Gooch, anti-corruption campaigner and co-founder and director of Global Witness

Ruth Lambert MBE, former Chairman of the Machynlleth Tabernacle Trust, who organised the Machynlleth Festival and the exhibition programme of MOMA (Museum of Modern Art) Machynlleth for almost thirty years

Dr Mitch Robinson, international law specialist for the US Department of Defense specialising in human rights, and an alumnus of the University

Sir Evan Paul Silk KCB, President of the Study of Parliament Group; formerly clerk in the British House of Commons, Clerk to the National Assembly for Wales and chair of the Commission on Devolution in Wales

Honorary Doctorate Degree:

Professor Ken Walters, Distinguished Research Professor in the University’s Institute of Mathematics, Physics and Computer Science, founding fellow of the Learned Society of Wales and a Fellow of the Royal Society

Honorary Bachelor Degrees:

Karina Shaw, Assistant Headteacher at Ysgol Penglais, Aberystwyth, Director of the Penparcau Community Forum, founder member and current Chairwoman of the Penparcau History and Heritage group, and charity volunteer

Aled Haydn Jones, Welsh radio editor, presenter and former radio producer with BBC Radio 1, and presenter with S4C.

Stefan Osgood (1994-2016), who achieved and contributed a great deal while studying at Aberystwyth, including through his involvement in sports, and as an exceptional contributor to Raising and Giving at the University.


Peter Williams (right) collecting Honorary Fellowship in memory of his brother Bill Williams, from Aberystwyth University Treasurer Dr Timothy Brain OBE


Bill Williams Credit: Royal Society of Chemistry

The family of Bill Williams with Vice-Chancellor Professor April McMahon