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The Scott Blair Collection

Dr George William Scott Blair was born on 23 July 1902, of Scottish ancestry, in Weybridge, England. After leaving school he read chemistry at Trinity College, Oxford where his tutor was Sir Cyril Hinshelwood. After graduating he was employed as a colloid chemist in Manchester where he worked on the viscosity of flour suspensions. In 1926 he was offered a post in the Physics department of the Rothamsted Experimental Station, working on soil science, where he remained for ten years.

For the next thirty years he was employed by the National Institute for Research in Dairying at the University of Reading. There he worked on the rheology of butter, cheese and cheese curd. He also studied the properties of mucus from the uterine cervix of the cow, which resulted in early detection of pregnancy, with correct results at 28 days after conception in healthy cows.

Eventually this work interested gynaecologists and during the war he went to the Radcliffe Infirmary in Oxford to work on cervical secretions in women. Scott Blair's research papers also cover areas such as biorheology and psychorheology. After he retired in 1967 he worked on the flow and coagulation of blood at the Oxford Haemophilia Centre.

Scott Blair played a pivotal role in the formation of the British Rheologists Club (later renamed as the British Society of Rheology) in 1941. He was President of the British Society of Rheology from 1949-1951. In 1969 he was awarded the Poiseuille Gold Medal of the International Society of Haemorheology (now Biorheology) and in 1970 he received the Founders Gold Medal of the British Society of Rheology.

Outside his profession his interests included music, modern languages and the philosophy of science.

The books and research papers of Scott Blair were donated to the British Society of Rheology and later deposited in the Library of the University of Wales, Aberystwyth in the early 1980s. After the death of his widow in 1988 a legacy of £10,000 was bequeathed to the Society "for the purposes of maintaining and improving the library facilities enjoyed by the Society in connection with the research papers..."

The Collection of books, pamphlets, journals and reprints is currently housed in room 420, adjacent to the Physical Sciences Library on the fourth floor of the Physical Sciences Building, Aberystwyth University. This room was officially dedicated as the home of the Scott Blair Collection on December 19th, 1999 with Professor Sir Sam Edwards performing the opening ceremony. The collection has over 550 books and the aim is to develop this "into an up-to-date library of Rheological literature available to all members". Included in the collection are some of Scott Blair's publications such as Agricultural rheology, An introduction to industrial rheology, Measurements of mind and matter, Elementary rheology and Rheology in relation to pharmacy and medicine. Some of these books are extensively annotated by the author. Rheology abstracts and the British Society of Rheology Bulletin are two journals published by/for the Society, which form an important part of the Collection.

The official Custodian of the collection is currently Professor Simon Cox, Department of Mathematics, Aberystwyth University. E-Mail: sxc@aber.ac.uk. Management of the collection is currently undertaken by Mr Simon French, Physical Sciences Library, Aberystwyth University. E-Mail: sif4@aber.ac.uk, Tel: 44 (0)1970 622080.

Because of the rare nature of much of the material held in the collection, access is restricted to on-site reference only. However, requests for photocopies of specific items are welcome. The collection is constantly being updated and several donations have already been made. Anyone wishing to make a donation to the Collection should contact the custodian.

The catalogue of the contents of the collection is available here as a word document (237 KB). It consists of three sections: a) Monographs and pamphlets; b) Journals; c) Addendum. In addition, it is possible to search the contents of the Scott Blair Collection on-line using the Aberystwyth University online catalogue at http://primo.aber.ac.uk/. After searching by keyword, you can refine your search results by selecting the Scott Blair Collection from the menu on the left hand side.

Further information about The Scott Blair Collection is available.

Information dated 16th February 2013.
Anton Paar

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