H.F.W. Taylor, energetic, forthright and an enthusiastic supporter of careers for women long before this became politically correct, was always known as ‘Hal’ to his colleagues and friends. His scientific career spanned over 50 years and saw great changes in crystallography, from homemade equipment and Beevers-Lipson strips to automatic diffractometers and high-powered computers.

He began his studies at the University of Nottingham, and subsequently moved to Birkbeck College, London (1948–1953), which provided a uniquely stimulating environment, in large part due to the presence of the late J.D. Bernal. While there, he worked on a range of topics using methods and...

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