Robin Nicholson (metallurgist)

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Sir Robin Buchanan Nicholson, FRS, FREng (born 12 August 1934 Warwickshire England) was a university and then industrial metallurgist, who served as Chief Scientific Adviser, Cabinet Office, from 1983-85. He then joined the board of Rolls-Royce plc, where he served until 2005. He was also a non-executive Board Member of BP plc and Pilkington plc.

Career[edit]

Educated at Oundle School, Robin Nicholson studied natural sciences at St Catharine's College, Cambridge, gaining a BA in 1956, followed by a PhD in metallurgy in 1959. He was a fellow of Christ's College, Cambridge, from 1962 to 1966, and was made a lecturer in metallurgy at Cambridge in 1964, before becoming professor of metallurgy at the University of Manchester in 1966. He joined the European subsidiary of the nickel company Inco in 1972, initially to be the Director of its research laboratory, becoming a director in 1975, and managing director from 1976-1981.

In 1981 he joined the Central Policy Review Staff in the Cabinet Office, before becoming Chief Scientific Adviser, Cabinet Office from 1983-85. He was also a member of the Science and Engineering Research Council (SERC) from 1978–81, and a member of the UK Government's Council for Science and Technology (CST) from its inception in March 1993 to March 2000.[1] He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in Mar 1978.[2]

He then re-joined the private sector, becoming a director of Pilkington plc and Rolls-Royce plc in 1986; and BP plc in 1987, where as chairman of the remuneration committee until 2005 he was several times the target of public criticism for approving steep increases in executive pay.[3]

Nicholson was elected to the (US) National Academy of Engineering in 1983, with a citation for his leadership in government/industry engineering policy, in bio-engineering, in theory of precipitation hardening in metals (his research field in the early 1960s), and in solar energy materials systems.

Nicholson was the first Chairman of the National Energy Foundation, from its inception in 1988 until replaced by Mary Archer in 1990; he remained on its Board of Trustees until 1996.[4]

In 1998, he published Science and Technology in the United Kingdom in the series of Cartermill Guides to World Science & Technology.

Nicholson is a Member of Council of Exeter University until 2011.

Government offices
Preceded by
Dr John Ashworth
Chief Scientific Adviser to the UK Government
1983–1985
Succeeded by
Sir John Fairclough

References[edit]

  1. ^ See CST website
  2. ^ "Lists of Royal Society Fellows 1660-2007". London: The Royal Society. Retrieved 3 October 2010. [dead link]
  3. ^ e.g. Richard Wray, Investors brand BP pay deals obscene, The Guardian, 15 April 2005
  4. ^ See NEF website