7 July 2022

Obituary: Iris Turner

It is with great sadness that the IES Council and staff note the passing of Iris Turner, one of the IES's longest standing members. 

Iris became a member of the IES in October 1985. She was an active member of the organisation throughout her long membership, and in 1994 she worked with Roy Waller to produce the report The Environment and the Professions on behalf of the IES. 

Throughout her career Iris was concerned with the engagement of students, graduates and the public with the environmental field. Key projects in her career included her contribution to a textbook for undergraduates, postgraduates and the general public, entitled Understanding Environmental Issues and a longitudinal study of the careers of ex-students (undergraduate and postgraduate) in the environmental field. 

Iris’ interest in environmental science began early in her career. Her particular interest was nitrogen compounds and how they interact with the environment, with all three of her postgraduate degrees dealing with different aspects of nitrogen compounds. 

She began her career in the teaching profession and first taught chemistry to secondary school pupils, followed by a research assistantship and then lectureship, eventually rising to become Acting Head of a chemistry department. During this time Iris continued to undertake research while working full-time and completed her PhD in 1973, following which she taught Soil Science and Biogeography in the Geography Department of the West London Institute of Higher Education. Iris was asked to provide part-time teaching in Soils Science at Kew Gardens and was subsequently awarded the Kew Medal by Alan Titchmarsh for her outstanding contribution to the gardens at Kew. She retired in 1995 but continued to teach part-time for a further ten years. 

Iris' support for the IES continued into her retirement years, along with her great passion for the environment.