Having qualified with a degree in chemistry, he commenced MSc studies in the Welsh National School of Medicine on the Heath, Cardiff. On the strength of that thesis, he was invited to do his PhD at the University of Birmingham. This led to his post-doctoral appointment in the University of Melbourne, where he invented the solid titration method of solubility determination. While there, he was invited to apply for the post of Senior Lecturer in the then as-yet-unbuilt new dental school in Hong Kong, where he stayed for some 29 years, having been promoted to Reader in Dental Materials Science in 1998. After being retired by HKU, Brian had a four-year stint in Kuwait as Professor of Dental Materials Science setting up a research laboratory. Now fully-retired (i.e. unpaid) he continues with numerous projects in world-wide collaborations as well as in UoB.
Although much of his early work centred on dental silver amalgam, the development of an artificial saliva for laboratory studies of dental materials raised the question of hydroxyapatite solubility, with problems still not yet resolved even after the efforts of four PhD students and numerous papers.
Even so, Brian’s publishing history shows that he is very much a generalist, having addressed a wide range of topics, often in innovative fashion, but with a distinct appetite for large data sets in order to have clear conclusions. He often decries the poor experimental design and data analysis of much literature in the field, bemoaning short-cuts and oversimplification.
Author of the textbook “Materials Science for Dentistry
”, whose 10th
edition is in preparation, he remains keen to show that comprehension of the principles are well within the grasp of undergraduates. He remains disappointed by the lack of curriculum time generally afforded the subject, and the negative attitude shown by many clinical teachers, despite its importance to all of dentistry.