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George Douglas Hobson, 1910-2006

G D Hobson died in June 2006. He was a quietly spoken Yorkshireman, universally known as Douglas. His early schooling led to a scholarship to the Royal School of Mines, London, where he graduated with First Class ARSM and BSc in the Oil Technology Department headed by V C Illing. Subsequent research on the fluidity and associated properties of mud suspensions gained him a PhD and DIC and the Institute of Petroleum Technologists' Student’s Medal (1934).

In those depression years outside jobs were scarce. He worked with Professor V C Illing for several years on his consulting work and with his experiments on the movement of oil in water-wet sands. He was subsequently Reader in Oil Technology at the RSM from 1955 until his retirement in 1976. He started the first course in Britain on Petroleum Reservoir Engineering in 1955, while maintaining his close association with Professor Illing & Partners.

My own association with Douglas was renewed on my return from working in Canada (1961), by which time the Partnership had moved to Cheam and Douglas came to us once a week to help sort out any problems that had arisen. If that was not immediately possible, we would be sure to receive a note in the mail a couple of days later, typed on his trusty old typewriter.

He served as external examiner for Newcastle University, North London Polytechnic, the RSM and Brunel University. He gave a course on Petroleum Geology at LSE for several years.

He was closely involved in setting up the Organic Chemistry Division of the Geological Society in the early 1960s, and sat on the organising committee of the first three European meetings on Advances on Organic Geochemistry in 1962, 1964 and 1966. He was Treasurer of the Geological Society (1977-1981) and served ex officio on a number of its committees.

He served for many years on various committees of the Institute of Petroleum. He was a member of the organising committee of JAPEC from its beginning in 1980. He and I edited the proceedings of the Second Conference on the Petroleum Geology of the Continental Shelf of North-West Europe. In 1967 he was one of three speakers in Banff, Alberta, on the origin, migration and placement of petroleum.

In the course of his work with Illing & Partners he made studies of many areas, large and small, throughout the world. In 1982 he gave lectures in China (Daqing) on oilfield development techniques. He was author of over 70 scientific articles.

The above brief professional summary conceals the warmth and friendliness of the man, always ready to help others in his quiet way. He is survived by his loving wife Peggy, their son Roger and daughter Sally, their five grandchildren and six great-grandchildren. He is greatly missed by them all and by his many friends and colleagues at home and abroad.

Leslie V Illing