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Robert Walker BSc Zoology, 1956 and PhD Neurophysiology, 1959

Emeritus Professor

Robert Walker's Photo

Professor Robert Walker has more than fifty years of experience of life at the University of Southampton. He first walked into the laboratories in 1956 after enrolling as an undergraduate, then stayed on to teach. Although he retired formally in 2003, he can still be found in Biological Sciences, where he helps to supervise student projects and postgraduate research.

It's hard to believe when I walked into Southampton as a student, I would remain there for my career. But I've always enjoyed teaching and talking with students. It was an excellent career choice.

Robert dates his interest in wildlife to collecting insects when he started to walk and being stung by a wasp!  "I wanted to study marine biology and came to Southampton where the professor of Zoology was a marine biologist.  However, I was converted to physiology by my tutor, Gerald Kerkut.  Gerald proved an excellent colleague and friend for over 40 years.  He established a Trust to provide PhD studentships in physiology and I am one of the Trustees. 

"Southampton only became a University four years before I joined and was one of the smaller civic universities.  This meant I got to know students and staff from across the university and the atmosphere was very friendly."

He remembers the move to the newly-built Boldrewood Campus in 1970 and enjoyed working there, a great improvement on the previous accommodation.  Boldrewood was built as part of the new medical school at Southampton which was partly established due to the Department of Physiology and Biochemistry established by Ken Munday at Southampton.  "Biological Sciences is large now, but when I was a student the annual intake was only 10 students," he says.  There were lectures and laboratory classes every day, even Saturday mornings!  Southampton was a pioneer in higher education and was one of the first to set up a modular degree programme in science.  The University also took great care of its six Colleges of Education and I was one of the university examiners in Biology for the colleges."

During his career Robert served as Head of Biochemical and Physiological Sciences and Head of the Department of Physiology and Pharmacology.  "It's hard to believe when I walked into Southampton as a student, I would remain there for my career.  But I've always enjoyed teaching and talking with students.  It was an excellent career choice."

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