17 November 1934 – 12 January 2017
The political scientist and psephologist Anthony Stephen King FBA died on 12 January 2017, aged 82. Born in Canada, he went to high school there and took a degree in history at Queen’s University, Ontario, before coming to Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar at Magdalen College, where he took a second degree in philosophy, politics and economics. He then moved to Nuffield College but by the time he submitted his DPhil in 1962 he had returned to Magdalen College as a fellow (1961–5). In 1966 he moved to the new University of Essex, becoming a reader in 1968 and professor of government in 1969. He wrote many books on parliament and elections (including a series, ‘Britain at the Polls’), but he was more widely known as an election night broadcaster, and a regular commentator on the latest opinion polls for the Daily Telegraph. He was a member of the Committee on Standards in Public Life (1994–8) and the Royal Commission on House of Lords Reform (1999). He was elected an FBA in 2010. He was survived by his second wife, Jan, his first wife, Vera, having predeceased him.
19 June 1938 – 4 January 2017
Sandra Landy, née Ogilvie, bridge player, died on 4 January 2017, aged 78. Born in Croydon, the daughter of a banker, but brought up in Sussex, she attended Hove County Grammar School for Girls and St Anne’s College, Oxford, where she read mathematics, and was the first woman to play for the university bridge team. She went on to do a diploma in numerical analysis and computing at Cambridge University, where she won a second half blue. After graduating she taught computer science at Brighton College of Technology and its successor, Brighton Polytechnic, but eventually gave up teaching to concentrate full-time on bridge. She represented Great Britain in eleven world championships (winning twice, in 1981 and 1985) and sixteen European championships (winning five times). She also wrote several books on bridge and was responsible for developing the English Bridge Union’s ‘Bridge for All’ teaching programme. Her husband Peter Landy, a civil servant whom she had married in 1967, died in 2005. She was survived by a son and a daughter.
Sir Tony Atkinson
4 September 1944 – 1 January 2017
Sir Anthony Barnes (Tony) Atkinson FBA, economist and Warden of Nuffield College, Oxford, from 1994 to 2005, died on 1 January 2017, aged 72. Born in Caerleon, Monmouthshire, the son of a carpentry teacher, he was educated at Cranbrook School in Kent and, after a gap year working in a hospital in a deprived part of Hamburg, Churchill College, Cambridge, here he switched from mathematics to economics, graduating in 1966. He was a fellow of St John’s College, Cambridge (1967-71), then professor of economics at Essex University (1971-6), the London School of Economics (1976-92) and Cambridge University (1992-4) before moving to Oxford as Warden of Nuffield College. From 2005 to 2009 he was a senior research fellow at Nuffield and from 2007 to 2009 professor of economics at Oxford. He was widely acclaimed for his work on social inequality, and became known as the ‘godfather of inequality research’. He wrote or co-wrote some 40 books and 350 journal articles; his last book, Inequality: What Can be Done? (2015), set out an ambitious programme for reversing the trend towards greater inequality. He was elected an FBA in 1984. He was survived by his wife, Judith, and their three children.
11 December 1942 – 1 January 2017
The philosopher Derek Antony Parfit FBA died on 1 January 2017, aged 74. Born in Chengdu, China, the son of missionary doctors, he was educated at Eton and Balliol College, Oxford, where he read modern history. On graduating in 1964 he spent two years as a Harkness fellow at Columbia and Harvard universities before returning to Oxford as a prize fellow in 1967. He remained a fellow of All Souls thereafter, from 1984 as a senior research fellow and from 2010 as an emeritus fellow. Soon after his return to Oxford his interests switched from history to philosophy, and he scored an immediate success with his first publication, in the Philosophical Review in 1971, on the problem of personal identity. Although he only published two books, Reasons and Persons (1984), and On What Matters (2 vols, 2011), he had an international reputation in moral philosophy and the new field of population ethics. He was elected an FBA in 1986. He was survived by his wife, the philosopher Janet Radcliffe Richards.