by Keith Attenborough
It is with the deepest sense of loss we report that Dr. Bob Peters passed away early on 22nd June. Bob was well known for his unbridled enthusiasm for and contributions to acoustics education. Bob was involved recently also as Chair of the IOA London Branch.
Bob started and ran Diploma and MSc programmes at NESCOT until 2010. Few acousticians will be unaware of Bob’s text ‘Acoustics and Noise Control’ (3rd edition is published by Routledge). This was the basis for much of Bob’s rewrite of the General Principles of Acoustics Module for the IOA Diploma in 2008. Bob was the fifth Chair of the Education Committee, serving from 1994 to 1998 and more recently he took over as the ninth Chair in 2015 until standing down due to ill health in 2017. During these periods Bob was instrumental in starting IOA certificate courses and in creating the distance learning version of the Diploma after its major restructuring in 2008. In 2000 Bob became the first Project Examiner for the Diploma in which role he undertook to visit every Diploma Centre each year, which exhausting schedule, he continued to pursue until last year. Despite becoming nominally an ‘Examiner’, Bob was not backward in giving fellow examiners a hard time regarding the accuracy, clarity and length of questions, being particularly severe on those setting the examinations for the General Principles of Acoustics Module. Bob became the Senior Tutor for the tutored distance learning version of the Diploma and was the primary tutor for the St. Albans group and before the recent stage of his illness planned to carry on with its successor the Milton Keynes group.
He was the last to acknowledge the severity of his illness or of the side-effects of the intensive treatment he was receiving. While accepting, temporarily, that the loss of an effective immune system as a result of treatment made it impossible for him to travel by public transport, in all telephone conversations with him earlier this year, he fully expected to be back contributing to the Diploma as normal. Those attempting to fill the ‘tutor’ gap left by Bob, are finding that his is a hard act to follow. He will be sorely missed.
Here are some quotes from colleagues on hearing of Bob’s death:
Bob gave great and long service to the IOA through many activities not least of which was his enthusiastic and authoritative support for education in general and for the diploma in particular and many of us will have one or more versions of Acoustics and Noise Control on our shelves. We will miss that contribution very much, especially at the moderation meetings where he could reliably seek and often find a mark or two to get candidates over the line
He was such a lovely guy - and one of best teachers of acoustics in the country. We were so lucky to have him teaching on the MSc - I think I recruited him as a PT lecturer about 30 years ago and he has been with us ever since. The course would have folded without him. And he did SO much for the IOA nationally and locally too.
A generation of acousticians was taught by Bob, either directly in face-to-face encounters or through his textbook. All who were privileged to know him will have witnessed his profound commitment to acoustics education and experienced his generosity with his time and also his own tireless drive to learn as well as to teach.
That’s really sad to hear, but I’m glad I got the opportunity to be taught by him – he could explain complex subjects in a clear and understandable way which is a very rare thing to be able to do as any kind of teacher (or consultant!), as well as being an extremely helpful and friendly guy. Will be missed!
I am in a deep state of shock right now as Bob meant a lot to me.
Bob will be greatly missed by many of his students – including me!
He was a fantastic teacher as well as a fantastic acoustician. As a colleague he would often ask a question that would leave you thinking for weeks. He was both challenging and supportive in all the right ways.