Professor A David Buckingham

We are saddened to report the death of David Buckingham, former Professor of Theoretical Chemistry at Cambridge, who died on 4th February a few days after his 91st birthday.

Known affectionately as 'ADB', David was renowned for his work on the theory of dielectrics, intermolecular forces, and the electrical and magnetic properties of molecules. At Debye's behest, the CGS unit of electric quadrupole – the Buckingham – was named in his honour.

A man of immense character and antipodean charm, with a permanent glint in his eye and an enthusiasm for science that never diminished, David Buckingham was almost certainly unique among theoretical chemists in having had a first-class cricket career (with Cambridge University).

Ten formative years of David's career were spent at Oxford. Having completed his PhD in two years, under John Pople at Cambridge, he moved to Oxford in 1955, first as an 1851 Exhibitioner in the PCL; and then as a University Lecturer in the ICL where, among others, he interacted with Jack Linnett. Throughout his time here, David was a Student of Christ Church, where his two-year stint as Junior Censor was said to have been enjoyably colourful. In 1965, David left Oxford for his first Chair, at Bristol University. Four years later he moved to Cambridge as the first holder of the 1968 Chair of Theoretical Chemistry and a Fellow of Pembroke, and in which post he remained until his official retirement. 

David Buckingham was inimitable, and will be much missed by all those who knew him. 

Cambridge University Obituary