Susan C. Bayliss (1955-2004)

Susan Caroline Bayliss was involved in a fatal car accident near Manchester, UK on 16th October 2004. She was found dead at the scene.

In 1970s Sue read Physics at Kings College London graduating in 1976. She then worked for her PhD at Darwin College, Cambridge under Professor W. Y. Liang. She submitted her thesis entitled "Symmetry Dependence of Optical Transitions in Layered Materials" and obtained her Doctorate in 1980. She became a Research Fellow at Lucy Cavendish College and continued her work on optical properties of transition metals.

Sue was at Leicester University from 1985 where she demonstrated her ability to cross boundaries between different areas of science and used her expertise in optical spectroscopy for studies of transmission of light across the adult and neonatal eyelid in vivo. This ability to be open minded towards many areas of science would always be the trademark of her research.

Sue obtained a lectureship position at Loughborough University in 1990. She became further involved in the use of structural methods for materials characterisation and developed her close association with Daresbury Laboratory synchrotron radiation source. She always believed that only a combination of different experimental methods can give a comprehensive answer to a problem, and indeed the majority of her publications during this period dealt with the use of combined structural/optical methods for investigations of novel materials.

In 1994 Sue obtained a senior lectureship at De Montfort University. Here her research matured and she established her reputation as a capable, talented scientist and an original thinker. During her period at De Montfort University she worked in the areas at the forefront of modern science: combined structural/optical methods using synchrotron radiation, porous light-emitting Si, nanocrystalline materials, studies of materials under extreme conditions, bio-electronic systems and neuron networks. The latter two areas stemmed from her collaboration with the biologists at De Montfort University and resulted in a series of pioneering publications on interaction of nanostructured materials with living neurons.

During ten years at De Montfort she developed numerous national and international links and close collaborations with researchers from UK, France, Sweden, Canada and Russia. Most notable was her close work with scientists from Moscow and Troitsk which lead to many exchange visits and friendships. Her research of this period was supported by numerous national and international bodies: EPSRC, EU, INTAS, NATO, Royal Society, Research Council of Canada. Her contribution into many areas of science was widely recognised and she became a member of several bodies that define the strategy of UK and European science. Most recently she was closely involved with the new UK synchrotron - DIAMOND where she was a member of several working groups. She was also elected as a member of European High Pressure Research Group Committee.

The next step in Sue's career was to have been on 1st November 2004, when she was due to start her work at Queen Mary College, University of London as a Chair of Nanotechnology.

Her inner energy and unorthodox approach to life and science provided an enviable example for everyone who ever came in contact with her. She always stood against fitting people into categories and was equally open minded with her colleagues and students.

Beyond science she had passion for sport and an ear for music. Her interests included rowing, tennis, cross country running, swimming and chess. She played piano and flute and sang in a rock band. She was always searching for something new to explore both in science and in her life. She was young in spirit, grasping life with all her heart. Time stood still for her and she will always be as fresh as the first day one met her. She will stay forever in the hearts of those who knew her. Did I mention she also wrote poetry?

I can't leave behind what I want to
All I can do is force a forget
Act indifferent and substitute
Some of me, for embitterment

But enough. None will know
So why should I be fretful?
I have to do far too much now
To waste time being reflectful

(Contributed by
Dr. Andrei V. Sapelkin, De Montfort University, Leicester, UK
Prof. D. J. Dunstan, Head of Department of Physics, Queen Mary University of London, London, UK)

Susan C. Bayliss (1955-2004)