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School of Biological and Behavioural Sciences

In remembrance of Brenda Thake

We report, with great regret, the death of Brenda Thake on 11 November in her 80th year. 

a smiling woman in black winter coat

In 1965 Brenda was appointed by G.E. Fogg to the Botany Department at Westfield College. She developed a strong interest in the internal workings of single-celled and filamentous green algae and cyanobacteria – a subject in which the Department had great strength. Some of these organisms are, collectively, visible from space in gyres, 100s of km across, in the Atlantic Ocean.

She became a much respected enthusiastic lecturer. Her acutely critical approach to scientific questions was particularly valued by research students, not only in her own subject. In 1983 she moved with colleagues to the new School of Biological Sciences at QMC (as it was then), and soon became respected and liked there too.

Generations of undergraduates, doctoral students, and academic staff remember her with great affection. She kept in contact with many of them. She retired in 2008, but kept on with her research until 2013, since when increasing illness has marred her last years. Her last publication concerned the disaster of 2.5 billion years ago when the poisonous oxygen produced by cyanobacteria changed the world, and land plants emerged. Universities have changed: we may not see her like again.

This obituary was written by Associate Academic, Professor Dicky Clymo.



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