Obituary: Barrie Juniper

Barrie Juniper

All colleagues will be sad to hear the news of Barrie Juniper’s passing at the age of 90.

Barrie read Botany at the University of Oxford, joining the ICI labs (now known as Syngenta) at Jealott’s Hill in 1956, where he became expert in the then cutting-edge science of electron microscopy. In the expectation that this new technology would reveal more of chromosome structure than it eventually did, Cyril Darlington appointed him as technical officer, where he remained ever since – retiring as Reader and Emeritus Fellow at St Catz in 2002.

Those in the Department who have only known Barrie as a sort of tweed-jacketed Yoda in the corner of the Common Room in recent years may not appreciate the absolutely pivotal role he played in the current understanding of plant ultrastructure, origins of organelles, plant surfaces and their interaction with insects, the structure of carnivorous plants, and the history of the apple.

With Lionel Clowes he wrote ‘Plant Cells’ - the guidebook of all plant cell biologists of the 1960-70s and, with others, a number of electron microscopy methods manuals. Indeed, Barrie and Schol. Bot. Oxon., as it then was, was at the technical forefront of both transmission and scanning electron microscopy in plants well into the 1980s, notably pioneering plunge cryo-freeze fracture techniques.

Barrie was also an inspiring lecturer with unbounding curiosity and endless anecdotes, with the creativity to bring electron micrographs to life. He was also an enthusiastic collaborator and, in recent years became involved with both David Mabberley and Stephen Harris in writing on the origins of the domestic apple. He was a fount of botanical knowledge and an endless fund of apocryphal stories. He will be greatly missed.

 - Hugh Dickinson & Mark Fricker