Passing of Prof. Philip 'Taffy' Lloyd, on Wednesday 08 August 2018
Paul Cannon (1953S) kindly informed the OD Office of the sad news of the passing of Prof. Philip 'Taffy' Lloyd (1953O) in the early morning hours of Wednesday past. Our condolences go out to all his family and friends.
'Taffy' was Research Professor of Energy at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology. He held, amongst many others, five special awards through his lifetime:
In January 2012 he received the 'African Intellectual of the Year' award from the Conrad Gerber Foundation;
In August 2011 he received the 'Energy Award' from the South African National Energy Association;
In December 2007 he contributed to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, and was part of the team that received the Nobel Peace Prize;
In August 1977 he received the Gold Medal from the SA Institute of Mining and Metallurgy; and
In June 1976 he was honored by Jaycees as 'One of Four Outstanding South Africans'.
Philip John Donne Lloyd (1936-2018)
Philip Lloyd – or “Taffy”, as he was known to many of his friends (though not to his immediate relations) – was born in Sheffield and came out to South Africa with his family in 1946, when he was nine. After Western Province Preparatory School, where his regional British accent was said to be so marked, at first, that some of his colleagues found it scarcely intelligible, he arrived at Bishops in 1949 as an Ogilvie day-boy. He had won an organ scholarship – but subsequently lost it when, in defiance of Dr Claude Brown, the school’s Head of Music, he played the chapel organ at fortissimo strength for Bach’s Toccata & Fugue in D Minor, bringing down some of the ceiling’s acoustic tiles. In his penultimate school year the formidable headmaster, Hubert Kidd, advised him not to take the matriculation exams as he would be unlikely to pass. He ignored the advice and matriculated in the First Class.
He then graduated at Cape Town University (Masters and Doctoral degrees) before spending four years at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology engaged in advanced studies in nuclear engineering. A spell at the Atomic Energy Board of South Africa was followed by seventeen years with the S A Chamber of Mines Research Organisation, as Director of Metallurgy. He then pursued a more narrowly academic career: Professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering at Witwatersrand University and then ten years as a Research Fellow at the Energy Research Centre of Cape Town University. From 2009 until his death he was a research professor at the Energy Institute of the Cape Peninsula University of Technology.
Such bare facts barely hint at Philip’s wider achievements. He was involved in several social upliftment projects, including PROTEC (the Programme for Technological Careers) that until its closure in 1994 benefited up to 1,000 Black students each year. He served as President of the South African Institution of Chemical Engineers, of the Federation of Societies of Engineers, and of the Associated Scientific & Technical Societies of South Africa. He was a member of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (despite being notoriously sceptical on the very notion of such change) – it was this group who shared the Nobel peace prize in 2007. For his UCT Doctorate in chemical engineering, he developed a uranium extraction process that is still in use. At the Chamber of Mines, he pioneered the use of an underground processing plant, to save the work of bringing ore to the surface. He was associated with the massive Mossgas project…
Philip Lloyd was not afraid of being contentious: indeed he revelled in it. He wore his academic achievements and distinctions lightly. He had a sharp mind, a ready wit and a trademark smile, and he was a congenial social companion. His impressive range of “outside” interests ranged from scouting and mountaineering to photography, and from Cape Town’s Owl Club to the Symphony Choir, of both of which he was an enthusiastic member. In his later years he took an increasing interest in the game of bridge. If there was another, more equivocal side to Philip’s genial character (for he could be irascible), it was veiled from public scrutiny. He was twice married – and twice divorced. His first wife was the ballerina Wendy Woolf, and his second Angela Read Lloyd, the writer and occasional lecturer at UCT summer schools, who died in December 2017.
He is survived by the three children of his first marriage – Rhys, Shura and Justin –
and by his sister Delia, the wife of journalist John Scott.