Award a bonus for Cambridge-bound scholar

Colin Robertson (left), of Invercargill, reflects on the inaugural Douglass D. Crombie Award, named after his uncle, and recently gained by University of Otago physics graduate Edward Linscott. Photo by Craig Baxter.
Colin Robertson (left), of Invercargill, reflects on the inaugural Douglass D. Crombie Award, named after his uncle, and recently gained by University of Otago physics graduate Edward Linscott. Photo by Craig Baxter.
More than 50 years after University of Otago physics graduate Douglass Crombie undertook research at the Cavendish Laboratory in England, a fellow Otago graduate is heading to the same laboratory.

Edward Linscott (22) will begin PhD study at the Cambridge University laboratory later this year with the support of a $7000 scholarship, named after his scientific predecessor.

The Douglass D. Crombie Award is offered to an outstanding New Zealand physics graduate intending to undertake a PhD in physics at an overseas university.

Mr Crombie, regarded as a brilliant physicist and engineer, was born in Alexandra in 1924 and graduated from Otago University with a BSc and a master's degree in physics in 1948.

Mr Crombie was a New Zealand National Research Fellow at the Cambridge University laboratory (1958-59), later becoming a leading satellite telecommunications engineer in the United States.

In the 1960s, Mr Crombie undertook ground-breaking research in radio frequency propagation over open seas, and later joined the staff of the Institute of Telecommunication Science, which was based in Boulder, Colorado, in the US.

He later became director of the institute before retiring from government service in 1985.

Mr Linscott completed a BSc(hons) in physics last year and received a Rutherford Scholarship to study at Cambridge. Gaining the further award had come as a ''wonderful surprise'', he said.

Mr Crombie's nephew, Colin Robertson, of Invercargill, joined Mr Linscott at a recent function in the Otago physics department, to mark the inaugural award. New Zealand's most celebrated scientist, Lord Rutherford, also undertook research at the Cavendish Laboratory, becoming its director in 1919.

Mr Linscott said it was ''great to be joining the tradition'' of students from Otago and New Zealand undertaking postgraduate studies at Cambridge.