Professor Paul Younger, Newcastle University’s former Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Engagement and a world-renowned scientist, has passed away at the age of 55.
Professor Younger was a world-renowned environmental pioneer, considered a global leading expert on the remediation of pollution in the mining industry.
Joining Newcastle University as a geology undergraduate, he went on to become the University’s first Pro-Vice-Chancellor for engagement and afterwards was appointed Director of the Newcastle Institute for Research on Sustainability. After leaving the University in 2012 he became the Rankine Chair of Engineering and continued his work in Glasgow.
During his time in North East, Professor Younger was one of the pioneers behind the drive to make Newcastle a City of Science and Technology, and lead the research to drill for geothermal energy in Newcastle.
Among his other achievements, he led the research team which won Newcastle University its first Queen’s Anniversary Prize for Higher Education in 2005. He was also honoured as a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering in 2007 and as a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh in 2016.
Professor Younger’s talents extended beyond science and engineering: he mastered a number of languages, including Gaelic, and wrote a column in the Newcastle Chronicle as the “Go Green Doctor” answering questions on issues of sustainability.[pullquote]"I enjoyed his intellect, his challenge, but above all, his passion for his subject, the University and the region.” - Vice Chancellor Professor Chris Day[/pullquote]
Born in Hebburn, Professor Younger was passionate about the North East, and his support for and involvement in local communities led to his appointment as Deputy Lieutenant of Tyne and Wear.
Vice-Chancellor Professor Chris Day said:“It is impossible to sum up Paul in a few sentences – he was a giant of a man in every way and his warmth, enthusiasm and fierce sense of justice permeated everything he did.
“Academically he was known and respected in his field by experts around the world, but it was in his role as ambassador for the University that I knew him best.
“I had the pleasure of working alongside him on the University’s Executive Board for many years and I enjoyed his intellect, his challenge, but above all, his passion for his subject, the University and the region.”
Professor Younger’s family said in a statement: “Of all of his achievements, Paul was most proud of his wonderful marriage to Louise and his very happy family life with his three sons, Thomas, Callum and Dominic.
“Paul was an incredible husband, father and inspiring academic and accomplished musician and linguist in his own right. Gan canny bonny lad.”
The family have requested that all donations be sent to Marie Curie.