Obituary: Geoffrey Cook

21 March 2006

Professor Geoffrey Cook, a BCS fellow, who served on the BCS Council and Education Committee, passed away on 3 March 2006 at the age of 77.

Geoffrey Cook was educated at the University of Cambridge where he obtained a PhD in quantum chemistry in 1954.

After several years in his first job as a senior scientific officer at the Royal Armaments Research Establishment, he was appointed as a lecturer in Electronic Computing at the University of Leeds in September 1957.

Whilst at the University of Leeds he achieved national recognition for his pioneering work in establishing computer science as an academic discipline. This was reflected in his becoming one of the first BCS Fellows.

He was promoted to director of the Electronic Computing Laboratory at Leeds University in 1960. His reputation led to his being chosen to serve on both the BCS Council and its Education Committee.

In 1969, Geoffrey Cook became the first director of the Computer Based Learning Project, which was established in the Department of Education with financial support from the Science Research Council and the Social Science Research Council. Two years later, he resigned from Leeds and was appointed visiting professor in computational science at the University of Liverpool from 1971 to 1974.

In 1974, he was recruited by the University of Hull as its first professor and head of department of computer studies, a post he held until 1983. The next year he returned to the University of Leeds in 1984 as a principal teaching fellow.

Geoffrey Cook retired in September 1991. Writing in the University of Leeds Review at that time, Denis Hutchinson commented that: 'Geoff Cook has always led by example, but he will be best remembered by his colleagues for his humanity, his extreme modesty and his unfailing good humour: even as an overburdened head of department he would give his time unstintingly to help staff or student alike.'

The funeral of Geoffrey Cook is to take place privately. Donations in his memory may be made to Cancer Research UK, 61 Lincoln Inns Fields, London WC2A 3PX.

University of Leeds tribute: