Tudor Johnston R.I.P.

Written by  //  August 28, 2016  //  Absent Friends  //  No comments

JOHNSTON, Walter Tudor Wyatt
Tudor Johnston, considered the greatest research theorist in plasma physics in Canada, passed away peacefully at his home in Knowlton, QC on August 24, 2016 following a brief illness. He will be missed by his loving wife Anne (née Pickering), sons; Malcolm and Bruce (Shelly), daughter Caroline (Rush), grandson Wyatt and three granddaughters; Annie, Allison and Maggie-Rose. Born in Montreal to Henry Wyatt Johnston (Chem Eng & Colonel 17th Hussars) and Beatrice Mary Johnston née Lyman (historian and very active in the CSPCA), Tudor was, naturally, a unique and multi-faceted individual. From a very early age he read voraciously on almost any topic except for organic chemistry (too messy) or North American History (too short). A challenging conversationalist, he was open-minded enough to accept as plausible any thesis provided that it was properly defended. Bridge, chess, crosswords, 3-D puzzles… anything with a discoverable path to a solution would captivate him. He adored sailing. He picked it up from his father and uncle at his grandfather Lyman’s house, Northglint, in the frigid water at the end of Cap à l’Orignal in what is now the Parc National du Bic. Open dinghies, catamarans, keel boats were all alike to him… a hand on the tiller and a clear course were his cure for seasickness. As the eldest cousin he was the bridge between generations at “The Cape”. He always had a knife, pliers, screwdriver and marlin spike at his hip and pens on a lanyard around his neck should anyone need to fix something up or write something down. Professionally, he devoted himself to plasma physics from the late 50s through his last contribution earlier this year. After obtaining degrees from McGill and Cambridge he became a senior research scientist at RCA Victor in Montreal in 1958 and then collaborated with the Physics Group – Plasmas at Université de Montréal. 1969-73 was spent with Houston University as an associate professor working on NASA projects simulating plasmas in space. Back in Quebec in 1973, he joined the newly created INRS-Energy Center in Varennes, QC where he spent the remainder of his career. He was published more than 150 times. His first co-authored book, “The Particle Kinetics of Plasma” (1966) represents a benchmark in the field. “Survival Skills for Scientists” (co-authored 2006) is a how-to based on 50 years of experience. As well as having 23 of his papers appear in it, he was an associate editor of the most prestigious journal for physics, Physical Review Letters, from 2000 to 2006 and later a referee for PRL. A frequent speaker at conferences at Livermore, Los Alamos, UCLA, Univ. Rochester, UBC and NRL, “Professeur Johnston” was also a most influential scientific researcher at the Énergie Matériaux Télécommunications Centre of INRS, a Fellow of the American Physical Society and was made “emeritus” in 2012. With a wealth of knowledge on almost any subject that you could image, it was the ease with which he engaged others, his warmth and charm that made him so special to all that knew him. A public celebration will be held at the Lake View Inn in Knowlton on Saturday, September 17 from 1 to 5 p.m. Family and close colleagues are invited to RSVP for a smaller gathering at the Mount Royal Cemetery on Sunday, September 18 from 1 to 3 p.m. In lieu of flowers, donations to the CSPCA or any palliative home-care organization would be greatly appreciated. Further enquires may be made of his son, Bruce Johnston, via Tudor’s Facebook page. – See more at: http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/montrealgazette/obituary.aspx?n=walter-tudor-wyatt-johnston&pid=181206536#sthash.qMHObMYI.dpuf

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