Richard Gregory-A Personal Tribute

Richard Gregory was a great man. I had the privilege to call him my friend and mentor. Today we celebrated his life with his self-styled FUNeral, where friends and colleagues came to Bristol to celebrate his life and intellectual legacy.

He was not as famous as Dawkins or Hawkings, but for those in the know, he was an intellectual giant who will forever be associated with the likes of Helmholtz and James as someone who addressed the big questions.  I discovered today that my supervisor, Jan Atkinson was supervised by Stuart Anstis who was supervised by Richard Gregory who in turn was supervised by Bertrand Russell. That is the wonder and fulfillment of pursuing a scientific career.

I tweeted from his funeral today which seemed to raise an eyebrow or two as some thought it was inappropriate but knowing Richard as I did, and I met with him every week to just chew the fat, he would have thought that this was “Amazing” which was his catchphrase. He was the eternal child of a man who never grew up and loved life to the full. He did not regret dying, but regretted not finding out the answers to the questions that kept him so alive.

Here are my last pictures of Richard and Me.

Dan gave a lovely recorded eulogy at the FUNeral

Richard setting the youngster to rights with wisdom

My Last Picture of Richard & Me- He's in the Flipping Face Urn

4 Comments

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4 responses to “Richard Gregory-A Personal Tribute

  1. Bluemoon

    He was a great and generous man who showed how much he was engaged with the ” new generation” of scientists by his eternal interest in what they were up to. I am sure he enjoyed his 3 o’clock tea time weekly meetings with you on a Thursday ad much as you did…..

  2. “He did not regret dying, but regretted not finding out the answers to the questions that kept him so alive.”

    Lovely tribute Bruce. I love the lineage all the way back to Bertrand Russell–that’s five noteworthy degrees of separation.

  3. brucehood

    thank you Poietes and Bluemoon… `I really appreciate it.

  4. I happened to be telling a psychologist friend of mine about his wonderful Eye and Brain book when I got the email that he’d died. The book was one of the things that ensured that I never became a standard issue philosopher but have been spending so much of my time with empirical people. So, the news was one that made me feel a surprisingly personal sense of loss given that I had never met the man. You were very fortunate to have the benefit of his insight.

    As for your line of intellectual descent, I am plain envious. It is quite fascinating that he was taught by Bertie. In my case, the line goes through Ian Hacking (some lovely work that you might find interesting, Bruce) and G.E. Moore (who would definitely have conniptions if he only knew what his intellectual descendants are up to).

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