Atomic Spectrometry Updates were pleased to pay tribute to the work of W.John Price. John was an early pioneer in the application of atomic absorption spectrometry to practical analysis through his work at Pye Unicam Ltd in Cambridge. He was on the organising committee of the highly successful International Atomic Spectroscopy Conference in Sheffield, UK in 1969. Nearly 400 delegates with an interest in this emerging technique attended from all over the world. Under John’s chairmanship, the Atomic Spectroscopy Group of the Society for Analytical Chemistry looked for ways to utilise the enthusiasm generated by this conference. An important outcome was the setting up of “Annual Reports on Analytical Atomic Spectroscopy”, annual reviews published in book form written by authors from around the world. The first edition appeared in 1972. John was Secretary of the Editorial Board and contributed to the reviews. About 10 years later, the production of topical reviews in book form was running into problems and the decision was taken to publish six reviews in a new journal set up the RSC, “Journal of Analytical Atomic Spectrometry”. These reviews were called “Atomic Spectrometry Updates” (ASU) and first appeared in 1986. John was not initially involved in ASU but joined later to contribute to the review on “Advances in Atomic Absorption and Fluorescence Spectrometry and Related Techniques” published in 1991. He had been writing for ASU ever since. His last contribution was published in 2008.
To commemorate John’s retirement from ASU, the Executive Committee treated John and his wife, Barbara, to a special lunch on the 4th November 2008 at a restaurant in Plymouth. The current Chairman of ASU, Andrew Taylor, presented John with an atlas, sheet music (Beethoven’s Romances for Violin and Piano – John was an accomplished violinist) and a bottle of 1994 Duff Gordon vintage port (from Doug Miles’ private collection).
Sadly, John passed away on Tuesday, 8 July 2014 aged 90.