Tom Troscianko, 1953-2011

December 15, 2011

Tom Troscianko was a fun, intellectually interesting academic who could "turn a trip into an adventure".

Born in 1953, Professor Troscianko joined the British Steel Corporation in 1970 as a lab technician.

After a year there, he went to the University of Manchester, where he studied for a degree in physics before returning to industry for a year as a research scientist at Kodak. It was there that Professor Troscianko began to develop an interest in the science behind colour vision.

He joined City University London as a doctoral student, and received his PhD in optometry and visual science in 1978.

That same year, Professor Troscianko joined the University of Bristol, where he was to spend much of his career, starting out as a postdoctoral researcher, and subsequently being appointed lecturer there in 1991 and professor of psychology in 2002.

Professor Troscianko also spent time at the University of Tubingen Eye Hospital, with a fellowship from the Humboldt Foundation, where he worked on isoluminance and its effects on the perception of form and motion.

On his return to the UK, he worked briefly for the IBM UK Scientific Centre in Winchester. He left Bristol on two further occasions - in 2000, when he took up a chair at the University of Essex, a role he stayed in only briefly, and between 2000 and 2002 as professor of psychology at the University of Sussex.

On rejoining Bristol, Professor Troscianko founded the Cognition and Information Technology Research Centre, which aimed to promote an interdisciplinary approach to cognitive neuroscience. He was particularly interested in the properties of the natural environment and how they map on to the organisation of the brain in humans, other primates and birds.

Iain Gilchrist, professor of neuropsychology at Bristol, recalled arriving for a new job in Bristol "carrying just two suitcases" and being met at the station by Professor Troscianko.

He quickly became a friend, mentor and colleague. "He was fun, and he believed that science should be fun - intellectually interesting, certainly, but definitely fun," Professor Gilchrist said. He added that Professor Troscianko had "kicked" him into doing more exciting things with his own research.

"There are a whole lot of people whose entire approach to life has been changed by Tom. There were so many people he taught that he made a real difference to. Every tutorial counts and Tom knew that."

Professor Troscianko died on 16 November. He is survived by his partner, Carol, and two children from a previous marriage.

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