## George Stanley Rushbrooke

### Professor of theoretical physics, 1951-1980

- born 1915
- elected Fellow of the Royal Society, 1982
- died 1995, Newcastle upon Tyne

Rushbrooke's research career began as a graduate student of Ralph Fowler at
Cambridge University, where they investigated solutions in which one component
is a dimer. After his graduate work he was appointed as a research assistant
at Bristol University and from there moved to research and teaching fellowships
at Dundee; it was at Dundee that he met with Charles Coulson, with whom he developed
a lifelong friendship and collaborated on many topics in theoretical and physical
chemistry.

1944 saw Rushbrooke's appointment to a lectureship at Leeds University, where
he lectured on statistical mechanics to final year honours chemistry students.
These lectures became the basis of his book *Introduction to Statistical Mechanics*
(1949). Rushbrooke's book managed to show how much statistical mechanics was
possible using only elementary mathematics, contrary to the vogue at the time.
1949 was also significant as the year in which Rushbrooke married Thelma Barbara
Cox.

Rushbrooke's next appointment was as a senior lecturer in theoretical physics
at Oxford University, from whence he moved to the newly created chair of Theoretical
Physics at the University of Newcastle in 1951.

As a researcher into statistical mechanics Rushbrooke made contributions to
the equilibrium theory of fluids (where he emphasized the role of the pair-correltation
function), but is probably best remembered for his work on inequalities in critical
exponents (which he established on thermodynamic grounds) which laid the foundations
from which the modern theory of critical phenomena emerged.

Rushbrooke retired in 1980 to become emeritus professor, and was a familiar
face in the Physics Department until weeks before his death in 1995.

#### Source

C. Domb, Stanley Rushbrooke 1915-95, *Physics World*, April 1996, 62-63.