Introduction: In appreciation of K. Robert Clarke

Anderson, MJ, Somerfield, PJ and Warwick, RM 2021 Introduction: In appreciation of K. Robert Clarke. Austral Ecology, 46 (6). 891-900.

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BIOGRAPHY IN BRIEF Early years Professor Kenneth Robert Clarke (‘Bob’) was born on the 19th of June 1948. He was brought up largely in rural North Dorset in southern England, though his indefatigable love of travel can perhaps be traced to three years of childhood in Malta in the late 1950s, during which he was educated often as the sole English boy in the local schools, his father having taken the family there to head the English department of a newly opened secondary school for the island. Back in England in the 1960s, wise words from his older brother and an inspirational maths teacher at Blandford Grammar School determined Bob’s subject choice for life – and the specialised focus of English state education at that time ensured he was taught nothing except mathematics from the age of 16. This led to a first class degree in Mathematics at the University of Leicester in 1969 (which contained no statistics at all, as was the case at the time for both school and university mathematics)and, more importantly that year, marriage (a long and happy one) to Cathy, a Leicester classics graduate. An M.Sc. at the University of Newcastle upon Tyne, under a revered statistician, Robin Plackett, brought Bob into the world of statistical theory (and writing computer code, in the days when ‘cut and paste’ literally meant taking a pair of scissors and tape to hole-punched paper!). This was followed by a Newcastle Ph.D. in Stereology, a branch of geometric probability and integral equations which infers 3-d properties from 2-d sections and projections, with application in life sciences, metallurgy and other fields. Bob became known on the university seminar circuit for provisioning the audience at the tea break by slicing up a cherry cake to derive the cherry density and diameter distribution from the resulting plane sections. A 6-year stint (1973–1979) as a Lecturer in the Department of Statistics at the University of Glasgow, Scotland – under the tutelage and encouragement of two further giants of statistics, David Silvey and John Aitchison – turned Bob into a lecturer and taught him the trick of keeping just one step ahead of his students. It also showed him how rewarding it could be to work with academics from other departments to bring statistical theory to bear on their problems. He also, arguably, missed his vocation in life when in the mid-1970s a computerised golf game he programmed in machine code for a stand-alone pen plotter – with the correct differential equations for a ball in flight in the wind and on a sloping green with friction – stole the show of the Stats Department’s University Open Day offering

Item Type: Publication - Article
Divisions: Plymouth Marine Laboratory > National Capability categories > Added Value
Plymouth Marine Laboratory > Science Areas > Marine Ecology and Biodiversity
Depositing User: S Hawkins
Date made live: 27 Aug 2021 09:38
Last Modified: 27 Aug 2021 09:38

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