Sunday 17 December 2017

Verspielt : RIP Heinz Wolff BSc. FIEE. FIBES FRCP (hon) FRSA (1928 – 2017)

A sad post, Professor Heinz Siegfried Wolff BSc. FIEE. FIBES FRCP (hon) FRSA passed away Friday aged 89. He was the world's first bio-engineer, director of the Division of Biological Engineering at the National Institute for Medical Research and Clinical Research Centre of the Medical Research Council. He founded the Institute of Bio-engineering at Brunel University for over 30 years naming only a few of his accomplishments but perhaps he was better known to us in Britain as the face of 'The Great Egg Race' and he was also a friend. I grew up watching, 'The Great Egg Race' 'Young Scientists of the Year' and 'Great Experiments, Which Changed the World' and as a result sparked my interest in science, partly because of the fun way he presented the subject matter but mostly because he was everything I wanted from a scientist, namely a German accent, wild hair and bow tie. I had the pleasure of finally meeting the professor back in 2009 when he was invited to speak at Shrewsbury’s celebration of Darwin’s 200th anniversary where he delivered a fascinating lecture about the evolution of photography using only a box some tubing and a lens
he demonstrated the photographic process taking a photograph of an audience member before developing the photo using chemicals he mixed on stage rounding it all off making a 48 pixel camera out of a box and some Ping-Pong balls! After the lecture we chatted and stayed in contact ever since and during that time he was the first to feature in my Science Spotlight series (a series of portraits and biographical information devoted to boffins that I painted) and he also took part in my Operation Bath Duck project re-homing Scout Duck 002 of 100. Always supportive of my work and kind with his time he wrote a very kind testimonial for me about my work which I regard as one of the highlights of my career.
I was thinking about him just the other day as a Christmas card from Brunel was always one of the highlights of Christmas for me, I saved each one and will look through them again tonight, remembering the great man and what an honour it was to know him.

© Arfon Jones 2017. All images are copyrighted throughout the world.


  1. Saw it on the news yesterday, such a shame. Did you get a Christmas card from him this year before he passed away?

    1. I never received anything this year, but who can tell? I might post them all on here sometime Kid.



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