Harry Stopes-
Roe died, at the age of 90, on 11 May 2014. He was born on 24 March 1924.

I first met
Harry Stopes –Roe in 1979, when he came to give a course on nuclear power with
a joint-presenter, a young Green half his age or younger. The Green hated nuclear
power, of course, but both presenters/tutors of the extramural night time class
at the University of Warwick, held degrees in physics. There were not many in
the class, but having read Petr Beckman’s book, The Health Hazards of NOT going Nuclear (1976), I was about the
only one who was sympathetic to the case for nuclear power that Harry was
making, but that the young Green, and most of the class, were quite hostile to.

Harry later
turned up at the debate put on by the Debating Society at Warwick between G.A.
Wells and Michael Goulder on the topic Did
Jesus Exist?
He had given Michael Goulder a
lift from Birmingham and he gave me and Michael a lift back to Birmingham. We discussed
Popper versus Kuhn in his car on the way to our then common home city.

I later met Harry at a few of the funerals
that he conducted as a Humanist for some secular friends of mine who had
died. We always seemed to get on well.

I did not
know that he had taken a degree in philosophy till this last week. He was
certainly still exceedingly keen on physics whenever I met him.

He was born
to the famous Marie Stopes, the birth control advocate, in London. He took
a BSc, and then an MSc, in physics from Imperial College, London.

He became an
amateur atheist who later was the chairman of the British Humanist Association until
his death. He later took a PhD from the University of Cambridge in philosophy. He provided secular funeral services and he
thought that Wells made out a better case than Michael Goulder in the debate at
Warwick. But Goulder was an extravert whilst Wells was somewhat shy, so that
was not the majority view. We failed to record the debate.

married Mary Eyre Wallis, the daughter of the Dam Buster’s engineer, Barnes
Wallis, but his mother cut him out of her will for doing so, as Mary was short
sighted. On Last Word 23 May radio 4,
Mary told of how daunted she was by her future mother in law before they
married. Marie objected to the marriage, as Mary’s short sightedness showed up that she
was from inferior stock. She expected poor sighted grandchildren from such a

Harry took a
job at the University of Birmingham teaching Science Studies. This will be how
we came to meet at Warwick in 1979, for Warwick used Birmingham’s Extramural
Department to put on night classes. I took Philosophy as a student at Warwick
during the day but still attended night classes in the evenings.

Harry showed
no positive or negative reaction to liberalism when I brought it up, but he did
change the subject. I never brought it up a second time. He seemed to be
interested in other things, but he did the same with socialism too, when an
associate common to us both, brought socialism up at one funeral. So I suppose
he was apathetic on that sort of thing, as most of the public are.