Rest in Peace Prof. David Neely
27 Aug 2020



It is with profound sadness that I report the untimely passing of one of our most adored, respected and loved colleagues, Dave Neely, after a short and sudden illness.




​Dave was one of the outstanding scientists of his generation and one of the eternal scientific pillars of both the CLF and its Community. He was fiercely bright, full of ideas and a natural collaborator who loved working with others, new and old, close and far, who always had time for everyone. He was a passionate advocate for our Community, and above all else he wanted it, rather than himself, to be successful. He worked tirelessly to that aim, and in so doing became one of the preeminent minds in high energy density science globally. He was universally admired.

As well as a colleague, Dave was probably our most prolific user – certainly our engineers knew that when Dave was the PI, the demands would be high, and then a bit higher again, and then a bit more... But the rewards were great, as he eked out every last pip of science he could from his slot. One commented to me today, “he never thought anything was impossible". Problems, were always opportunities for Dave. 

He was a brilliant mentor to people, especially students, at all stages of their career, and countless numbers have been guided and helped to where they are today. He had as much enthusiasm and patience working with a 14 year old work experience student as he did motivating and stimulating a new PhD student. He had collaborators and friends all over the world, winning prizes on far away shores. Dave exuded energy, warmth, positivity and oomph – always can do, will do with his hugely infectious personality.

Above all he was a delightful person to be around – “…an impish sense of fun…", “…a twinkle in his eye…", “…it was always a treat if you had to wait in the queue for the microwave with him…" some of the messages I have received today. Endlessly polite, diplomatic and a gentleman.

I knew Dave from the day I joined CLF, when he took me under his wing. Someone who is the soul and epitome of CLF, part of the furniture, and someone I deeply trusted, admired and respected. His untimely passing has left an huge hole for everyone that knew him and we all struggle to believe it.

Our deepest thoughts and sympathies are with his family at this difficult time.

John Collier

Director, CLF

Contact: Towrie, Helen (STFC,RAL,CLF)