Obituaries

Sir Robert Stevenson AitkenAbraham AnsellPeter Llewellyn BlaxterAlan James BoothJames Stark Greig BurnettJames Brian (“Jim”) Clark

BMJ 1997; 314 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.314.7096.1766 (Published 14 June 1997) Cite this as: BMJ 1997;314:1766

Sir Robert Stevenson Aitken


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Regius professor of medicine, Aberdeen 1939-48, vice chancellor, University of Birmingham 1953-68 (b Wyndham, New Zealand 1901; q Otago 1922; MD, FRCP), d 10 April 1997. His father had come to New Zealand from Glasgow as a Presbyterian minister and was later moderator of that church in New Zealand. At Dunedin, Rob did brilliantly and was awarded a Rhodes scholarship, working his way to Britain as a ship's doctor, and to Balliol (where his brother, son, nephew, and grandson followed him). After his DPhil in respiratory physiology he worked at the London Hospital and the Postgraduate Medical School, being appointed in 1939 to Aberdeen, where after the war he was much involved in preparations for the National Health Service in Scotland. With his return to Dunedin as its first vice chancellor came the end of his specifically medical career, though here he helped his friend (Sir) Douglas Robb establish the Auckland medical school. His time at Birmingham included the last great phase of university expansion. The arts faculty relocated from the centre of the city to the Edgbaston campus, while the science, engineering, medical, and dental faculties …

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