It is a particular honour to take over as Editor-in-Chief of Biographical Memoirs since I have long valued the excellent biographies written by our colleagues to celebrate the lives of Fellows of the Society. I have had the experience of writing three memoirs and so fully appreciate the effort needed to create a lasting memorial to those commemorated.
There are a number of features of the essays which make them especially valuable. Most important is the fact that they are written by scientists for scientists and so they concentrate strongly and authoritatively upon the content of the science and the scientific achievement. The recommended length of about twenty printed pages is sufficient to gain a good appreciation of the key contributions of those commemorated.
The 2016 volume of Biographical Memoirs is now available to read online, and an overview of the memoirs in the volume can be found in my Editorial. I hope that you enjoy reading these fascinating memoirs as much as I did.
Malcolm Longair is Jacksonian Professor Emeritus of Natural Philosophy, University of Cambridge and Director of Development at the Cavendish Laboratory, Cambridge. From 1980 to 1990, he was Astronomer Royal for Scotland and Director of the Royal Observatory, Edinburgh. From 1997 to 2005, he was Head of the Cavendish Laboratory. His research interests are in high energy astrophysics and astrophysical cosmology, and the scientific history of physics, astronomy, astrophysics and cosmology. He has written a history of quantum mechanics (2013) and a scientific history of the Cavendish Laboratory (2016).