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Christine Kelsey (1931-2017)

last modified Oct 17, 2017 02:58 PM
We are very sad to announce the death of Christine Kelsey on Wednesday 23 August.

Christine Kelsey read Natural Sciences at Girton College 1949-53 with an Exhibition in her third and fourth years. She was awarded a postgraduate research studentship in 1953 which enabled her to work on the structure of tobermorite 1953-56 (MA 1956, PhD 1958). Her paper “Crystal structure of tobermorite”, co-authored with her PhD supervisor Helen Megaw, appeared in Nature in 1956. After 21 months of post-doctoral research in Canada, Christine returned to Cambridge as a University Demonstrator in the Department of Mineralogy and Petrology (1958-63). She became a University Lecturer (1963-80) in Mineralogy and Petrology, and subsequently in the Department of Earth Sciences following the merger of the Departments of Geology and Mineralogy & Petrology. She retired in 1998.  Christine additionally held the office of Vice-Mistress of Girton College from 1987 to 1996. 

Christine was one of the stalwarts of IA teaching in “Crystalline Materials”, which became “Materials and Mineral Sciences” during her time, and was an ever present mainstay in the teaching of crystallography in Part IB and Part II. She was married to Duncan McKie who was also a long-term University Lecturer in the Department of Mineralogy and Petrology. Their books, “Crystalline Solids” published by Taylor in 1974 and “Essentials of Crystallography” published by Blackwells in 1986, are classics familiar to generations of students as “McKie and McKie”. Essentials of Crystallography still appears on reading lists for IA and IB NST students and is likely to continue to do so for many years to come.

Those of us who knew Christine only in the later stages of her career in Earth Sciences would not have been aware of the extent of her contributions to Girton College over a period of more than 40 years or of the fact that she acquired a rowing Blue in 1952. She will be remembered for her quiet dedication to many aspects of life in the University and for the kindness she unfailingly showed to everyone around her, students and staff alike.