Family of Douglas Rayner Hartree visit the Hartree Centre

Sharon and Chris with Hartree Centre Director, Kate Royce and Head of Daresbury Laboratory, Paul Vernon

On Daresbury Open Day 2023, the Hartree Centre was delighted to receive a visit from the granddaughter and great-grandson of Douglas Rayner Hartree.

Meet Sharon and Chris, the granddaughter and great-grandson of the mathematician, physicist, and champion of early electronic computer development that the Hartree Centre takes its name from.

Douglas Rayner Hartree is most famous for his contributions to the development of numerical analysis and equations such as the Appleton-Hartree equation for the refractive index and the Hartree–Fock method of atomic physics.  Hartree was also integral to the construction of the Meccano differential analyser​. His life and career saw computing problems develop from ​numerical calculations on paper right through to the first electronic computers, and was influential in supporting the application of early computing machines to real scientific problems. It is this passion for the practical application of pioneering computing technology that makes him an ideal representative of what we do at the Hartree Centre.  

Having never visited the Hartree Centre before, they were thrilled to be able to come and see us at Daresbury Open Day to find out more about the legacy we are creating for Douglas Rayner Hartree through the innovative application of advanced computing technologies.

Daresbury Open Day happens once every 4 years and is a unique opportunity to step inside STFC Daresbury Laboratory and Sci-Tech Daresbury to find out more about the world-class science and research happening at the campus, and across the UK. This year we received 5000+ visitors on site and provided over 250 engaging activities.

As part of their visit, Sharon and Chris discussed their family history with our team and really got stuck into the activities on offer – Chris even had a go at making slime with some of our computational chemists!

“Thank you to all the staff on Saturday, for your generosity of time, spent with myself and Chris. We both had an amazing time and learnt some amazing things. Once again, many thanks for an amazing and informative day – one I really shall not forget!”

Sharon Gail Harrison-Kerr

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