Imperial College London

Imperial mourns the passing of Professor James Stirling


Professor James Stirling

Professor James Stirling FRS, Imperial College London’s first Provost, passed away on Friday 9 November surrounded by his family.

Professor Alice Gast, President of Imperial College London said: “Our thoughts are with his family and his close friends.  We celebrate all that he did in his life and we cherish our own memories of his wisdom, grace, and warmth.”

Professor Stirling presenting hockey awards at Varsity 2016
Professor Stirling presenting hockey awards at Varsity 2016

Professor Stirling was a distinguished physicist, whose work has resulted in more than 300 research papers, including some of the most highly cited of all time in the physical sciences.

During his five year tenure at Imperial, Professor Stirling was responsible for leading Imperial’s core academic mission of education, research and innovation.

He became known among Imperial’s community for championing the development and wellbeing of staff throughout the community, with a particular focus on marginalised and underrepresented groups.

"James defined the role of Provost"

Professor James Stirling receiving his honorary degree
Professor James Stirling receiving his honorary degree in the Royal Albert Hall in October 2018

Last month, Professor Stirling received Imperial’s highest honour - an honorary doctorate of science – during the College’s Commemoration Day celebrations in recognition of his outstanding contributions to physics and to the College.

Speaking at the time, Professor Alice Gast said: "James defined the role of Provost, not only for Imperial, but for the world. It was a privilege to learn from his graceful and insightful approach to leadership. I also immensely enjoyed working with him on opportunities like the Invention Rooms and challenges like the pension dispute. We will always remember his exceptional work furthering academic excellence, gender equality, mental health and animal care. His perpetual wonder and enthusiasm for all aspects of discovery and learning is infectious. James inspires all who work with him with his wisdom, character and warmth."

During the Commemoration Day celebrations Imperial’s current Provost Professor Ian Walmsley added: “Professor James Stirling is a leader who inspires the very best and has defined the role of Provost for Imperial with integrity and vision. The high esteem in which he is held by everyone in the Imperial community cannot be underestimated. It is a privilege to honour him here today.”

Read more about Professor Stirling’s profound impact on the life and work of Imperial.


Deborah Evanson

Deborah Evanson
Communications and Public Affairs

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