The laser community is saddened by the death of another colleague. On Friday, May 13, Derek Russell died in England at the age of 68 after fighting a brave battle with cancer. His career spanned almost four decades at TWI, where he built up an outstanding reputation for his contribution to electron beam and laser beam technologies.
In the 1960s Russell headed up a team that was credited with the development of the first fast axial flow laser for cutting and welding, for which the team was presented the AILU-Award 2000. In 1987 he became the head of the laser center where he was prominent in launching and organizing the EU83, 86, and 194 European Power Beam projects. Subsequently, he turned his attention to Nd:YAG laser developments, which changed the direction of TWI’s activities towards fiber-delivered continuous wave lasers. In addition, he successfully managed one of the largest European projects ever undertaken by TWI, aimed at acquiring classification society approval for the use of laser welding in the shipbuilding sector.
In 1999, Russell was awarded the Brooker Medal for his personal contribution to science, technology, and industrial exploitation of materials joining. He officially retired from his business development activities in 1999, but continued on at TWI for several years in a consultative capacity.
He will be missed by his many friends and colleagues around the globe, and most especially by his family.