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Graham L. Jones (1935-2009)

Graham L. Jones died on Sept 14 2009 after a short illness.

Graham was born and raised in Cardiff.  After leaving school he spent 5 years in the RAF as a radar fitter before taking a job with de Havilland to work on the guidance systems for the Blue Streak missile.  In 1960, he joined Standard Telephone and Cables (STC) in Newport where he worked as a technician on one of the first commercial computers known as STANTEC ZEBRA.  He later worked briefly for Television Wales (West and North) before joining the staff of University College Cardiff in 1963.

Graham was the Science Faculty’s electronic engineer, based in the Physics department.  Initially, an important part of Graham’s job was to look after the department’s computer, the first in the College and the same type of computer that he had worked with at STC.  The arrival of the computer had revolutionised the way in which problems in physics, and other disciplines, could be tackled and, consequently, it was always in high demand.  A colleague of Graham wrote: “I can recall very well when Graham first appeared in the old Physics department to look after our first computer – and it took some looking after.  It changed our little academic world but needed much skill to keep it going and Graham did it wonderfully for many more years than seemed possible.”

Graham’s role grew into heading the Faculty of Science Electronic Workshop, where he helped to design and build new scientific instruments for many different departments.  He even appeared on the television programme “Tomorrow’s World” demonstrating a device that he had developed with Robert Appleby of Geology called the Analogue Video Reshaper.  His work included developing first generation digital data collection systems for X-ray crystallography and acoustic research, and novel bespoke teaching apparatus, including a mini radar system using ultrasound.  Towards the end of his career, Graham also serviced much of the electronic equipment used by Information Services.  He retired from the University in 1996.

During his 33 years here he made a significant contribution to the research of the University.  Those who worked with him, valued not only his skill and enthusiasm, but also his humanity.  He was a very special person: kind, thoughtful, warm, ever helpful and a pleasure to be with.  He was universally liked and respected.

Peter Jones and Rob Tucker