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John Stuart Archer, CBE (15 June 1943 – 9 December 2007) was Vice-Chancellor and Principal of Heriot-Watt University from 1997 to 2006.


Archer was born in London on 15 June 1943 and went to Chiswick County Grammar School.[1] He obtained a BSc in Industrial Chemistry from City University London in 1965 and a PhD from Imperial College London.[2] In 1969 he emigrated to Canada with his wife Lesley and got a job as a Petroleum Engineer.[3] He returned to the UK in 1973, and worked in the European gas fields.[3]

He entered academia as a Reader in Petroleum Engineering at Imperial College in 1980 , becoming a Professor in 1986, then head of the Department of Mineral Resources Engineering in 1987.[3] After further senior positions at Imperial College, he joined Heriot-Watt University in 1997 as Vice-Chancellor and Principal, until his retirement in July 2006.[3]. He died 9 December 2007 of cancer, survived by his wife and their son and daughter.[4]

Honours and Professional Affiliations

Archer was awarded the CBE in 2002 for services to Higher Education.[5] He was a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering and of the Royal Society of Edinburgh.[3] He served as President of the Institution of Chemical Engineers for 2005 - 2006, which included responsibility for the World Congress in Chemical Engineering, held in Glasgow in 2005.[2] He received honorary degrees from the University of Edinburgh, Imperial College, City University and Heriot-Watt University.[6]


  1. ^ Frost's Scottish Who's Who John Stuart Archer (accessed 7 March 2009)
  2. ^ a b The Chemical Engineer, issue 800 (Feb 2008) page 54
  3. ^ a b c d e Heriot-Watt Institute of Petroleum Engineering Obituary
  4. ^ Times Higher Education 17 January 2008 Obituary by Melanie Newman
  5. ^ The Guardian 15 June 2002
  6. ^ Royal Society of Edinburgh Obituary


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