Heidy Mader obituary

3 weeks ago 41

My colleague, mentor and person Heidy Mader, who has died aged 61 of cancer, was an outstanding experimental scientist. She applied lessons learned successful processing the Wispa cocoa barroom arsenic a probe physicist astatine Cadbury to pb a gyration successful knowing the travel of lava and magma arsenic a prof astatine Bristol University.

Heidy was calved successful Cosford, Shropshire, to Renate (nee Pitz) and Eric Mader. Eric was an serviceman successful the RAF, and Renate, who came from Germany, went connected to go a teacher. The household moved often wrong the UK, pursuing Eric’s postings.

For Heidy’s secondary schooling they settled successful Germany, wherever she became fluent successful German and passionate astir physics. Ignoring the wide connection from her teachers that “girls can’t bash physics”, she took the taxable astatine Abitur level – the lone miss successful her twelvemonth to bash so. This was the archetypal of galore times successful her beingness that Heidy encountered and dismantled a lazy stereotype of pistillate limitation.

After a first-class grade successful physics astatine the University of York, Heidy joined the method improvement section astatine Cadbury, wherever she investigated the rheology of bubbly molten cocoa arsenic portion of the Wispa improvement team. Rheology, which describes however materials travel and deform erstwhile taxable to a force, is small known to the wider public, but cuts crossed each aspects of our lives, dictating however humor flows astir our bodies, however each mode of products – foods, medicines, plastics – are manufactured, and however materials specified arsenic crystal and magma travel done the earthy environment.

Following a PhD astatine Bristol University connected the carnal properties of ice, a postdoctoral presumption researching explosive processes successful volcanic eruptions, and a lectureship astatine the University of Lancaster, successful 1996 Heidy returned to Bristol. There, she founded a rheology laboratory that conducted painstaking experiments connected bubble- and particle-laden fluids – proxies for lava and magma.

Like the cocoa destined to go Wispa bars, magma is composed of a crystallising liquid containing bubbles; Heidy’s large penetration was that the aforesaid rheological techniques she had utilized astatine Cadbury could beryllium applied to knowing the travel of magma during volcanic eruptions. The results transformed knowing of magma flows and yielded mathematical models that enabled much close prediction of volcanic eruption behaviour.

Heidy was a generous mentor to dozens of younger scientists, sharing her skills and knowledge, and ever giving omniscient counsel, adjacent erstwhile this progressive speaking uncomfortable truths. She was viewed arsenic a relation exemplary for women successful science, successful portion due to the fact that she demonstrated however “family first” request not mean “career second”, astatine a clip erstwhile galore successful academia inactive expected women to marque that choice.

She and her semipermanent partner, the mathematician Jon Keating, had 3 children – the first, Alex, sadly died soon aft helium was born. In her spare time, Heidy played the bassoon enthusiastically, swam, knitted, made stained glass, baked fantastic cakes, and walked her beloved dog, Tess.

Heidy is survived by Jon, whom she joined successful 2009, and their children, Rob and Miranda, and by her mother.

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