Date of Birth: 10th Aug 1930

Wordsworth Price
T+T Icons In Science & Technology Volume II

Professor Wordsworth Price is a multi-talented individual who dedicated his life to physics and electrical engineering, doing extensive work on dielectrics1. He was given honourable mention in Who’s Who of British Scientists (1980 – 1981) and the International Book of Honour (1984).

Wordsworth “Wordy” Price was born on 10th August, 1930, in Port-of-Spain, Trinidad. After attending Tranquility Boys’ Intermediate School, he won a Government Exhibition scholarship to Queen’s Royal College (QRC). There, Price passed the Higher School Certificate three times in different mixes of the science subjects. Immediately after leaving QRC in 1949, he worked at the Colonial Microbiological Research Institute in Port-of-Spain as a laboratory assistant.

He then won a scholarship to United British Oilfields of Trinidad (UBOT), where he was one of two locals selected for entry to the senior staff. While at UBOT, the news came that he had won a scholarship to the University College of the West Indies (UCWI), Jamaica and Price left Trinidad in 1950.

At university, Price completed a Bachelor of Science (BSc) in Physics, Chemistry and Pure Mathematics in 1954. He began his Masters in Experimental Physics in Jamaica, researching the dielectric properties of sapphire, but left in 1957 to continue the degree in England. Later that year, Price took up the post of Experimental Officer at the British Electrical and Allied Industries Research Association (ERA) where he did work on the intrinsic electric strength of polythene2. In 1959, Price left the ERA to work as a scientific officer at British Dielectric Research Ltd where he conducted research for the Atomic Weapons Research Establishment, developed micro-miniature capacitors3 for the Royal Radar Establishment, and sintered4 tantalum5 capacitors for commercial use. Price went on to gain a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Theoretical Physics from the University of London in 1971, conducting research on the electric potential6 theory. He also discovered a mathematical theorem in infinite products7, which was published in the Proceedings of the Cambridge Philosophical Society (1974).

In 1963, Price left British Dielectric Research Ltd to lecture in physics at Norwood Technical College. He subsequently became a senior lecturer in physics and electrical engineering at what is now South Bank University. After his retirement in 1995, he taught Statistics for Business and Economics at Schiller International University and attained the title of Professor.

Professor Price has achieved excellence in extracurricular pursuits as well; he plays the violin in the Kensington Philharmonic Orchestra and has represented Trinidad and Tobago in target-rifle shooting with success at Bisley on many occasions. In 2005, he won the bronze medal in the 300-metre target-rifle event at the World Masters Games in Edmonton, Canada. He is also a member of the English Bridge Union with the rank of Premier Regional Master.

His achievements as a research scientist were recognised in 1990 when he was given the Scarlet Ibis Award for outstanding achievement by the then High Commissioner for Trinidad and Tobago in London, Justice Ulric Cross.

To youngsters considering a career in science, Professor Price advises that “the best reason for doing science is because you like it and you enjoy doing it.”

 

 

 

 

  1. Also known as electric insulators, these materials resist electricity. Examples include rubber and glass.
  2. A plastic, resistant to chemicals and moisture, and used extensively in containers, electrical insulation, and packaging
  3. An electrical device that can be used to store electrical energy
  4. A method of making objects from powder by heating the material until the particles stick together
  5. A rare, metallic element that is widely used in capacitors because it readily forms a protective oxide layer which has highly desirable dielectric properties
  6. In potential theory this term refers to a mathematical quantity that is used to calculate the strength and direction of an electric field
  7. Calculated by multiplying all the terms in an infinite series, for example 0.1 x 0.01 x 0.001 x 0.0001…
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