David Alan Walker

18 August 1928 — 13 February 2012

Prof. David Alan Walker FRS

David Alan Walker was an Emeritus Professor of Biology at the University of Sheffield and also Fellow of the Royal Society. He had a marvelous 60 year career as a scientist, during which he was a researcher, mentor, valued colleague, and a prolific writer in the field of photosynthesis. His career was marked by creative breakthroughs in isolation and analysis of chloroplast metabolism in vitro and simple but valuable technical advances for measurement of photosynthesis in vivo that remain relevant on a global scale to production of crops and biofuels, as well as plant responses to climate change (Edwards & Heber, 2012).

Through his life’s work, David made an outstanding contribution to photosynthesis research and also in disseminating the understanding of photosynthesis to a wider, more general audience. Throughout a career spanning 60 years, David authored over 230 publications including several books for both the scientific community and for children. He was made a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1976 and in 2004 received the International Society of Photosynthesis Research Communications Award “to acknowledge his outstanding efforts to communicate photosynthesis to the general public”.

David Walker sadly passed away on 13th February 2012. He was both a dear friend and trusted colleague who played an enormous role in the early development of Hansatech Instruments Ltd. He was an important and influential figure – both professionally and personally – to all who were fortunate enough to know him.

David will be sorely missed and, in conjunction with the ISPR and the family of Prof. Walker, Hansatech Instruments are proud to be able to host this important collection of works and some of his musings as a dedication to his memory.

The title of the site, Oxygraphics, is taken from a small, online publishers website that was established in 1982 by David and the late Tom Delieu. It had two aims. The first was to further the development and utilisation of oxygen electrodes in apparatus primarily intended for the measurement of photosynthesis by isolated chloroplasts and leaf discs. This aspect of its work has long since been subsumed by Hansatech Instruments in a fruitful co-operation which started a decade or more earlier.

The second aim was to publish related books by David Walker. This continued but with excursions into what might be described as popular science as well as a couple for 9-13 year olds.