Professor Nick Besley – 1972-2021

November 17th, 2021

The university is saddened to hear of the death of Professor Nick Besley, Professor of Theoretical Chemistry in the School of Chemistry.

Professor Besley worked for the university for 21 years, making major advances to the understanding of how light interacts with different types of molecules, providing a crucial link between theory and experiment.

Shortly after joining the university in 1999, Nick was awarded a prestigious EPSRC Advanced Research Fellowship in 2002, eventually becoming a leading expert in modelling the spectroscopy of core electrons with density functional theory.

His contribution and the impact of his work is reflected in his obituary in the Guardian and the Royal Society of Chemistry.

Professor Nick Besley – 1972-2021

Professor Jonathan Hirst, a colleague at the School of Chemistry, said his sudden death came as “a complete shock to his colleagues and students”.

“A gentleman and an astute scholar, Nick should have been at the mid-point of his career,” he said.

“He was a great colleague and dear friend.”

The university’s School of Chemistry is instituting The Nick Besley Memorial Prize in his honour.

Members of the Q-Chem Board – which relates to quantum chemistry software – have also created The Nick Besley Award in his name.

Prof Hirst added: “Nick’s students, colleagues and scientific collaborators will remember him as a kind-hearted, gentle soul, with an impact that will endure through the students he mentored and his published research papers.”

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