Expert in laser safety, Professor Bryan Tozer, passes away

Lasermet has announced that its chairman, Bryan Tozer (BSc PhD CEng CPhys FIET FInstP), passed away on 1 September 2017.

Bryan Tozer was a family man, physicist, electrical engineer, company founder and director, research scientist, pioneer in laser science, expert in laser safety, yachtsman, and many more things.

Tozer was born on 11 April 1932 into a working class family in Merseyside, UK.  During the war he was evacuated for a short time but experienced the majority of the Liverpool Blitz of 1940–42. He was academically gifted and won a scholarship to Birkenhead School, and later attended Liverpool University where his chosen subject was Physics.

Tozer was naturally left handed, but encouraged to be right handed, which meant that as an adult he was ambidextrous.

After graduating, he remained at Liverpool University and completed his Doctorate with a thesis in plasma physics, then taking up a place as a research fellow at Queen Mary University London. He married his wife Pauline in 1961 shortly after he had started work with the Central Electricity Generating Board at their Research Laboratories in Leatherhead.

Following the birth of his two children, he took the opportunity of a two-year posting to the National Research Council in Ottawa, Canada. By this time he was already working with lasers – a recent invention at the time – and, returning to the UK in 1968, Bryan transferred to the CEGB’s Marchwood Engineering Laboratories, near Southampton. Here he rose to become head of the Physics Research Division and amongst many other achievements, pioneered a number of techniques using lasers for the remote optical inspection of the inside of nuclear reactors.

For this purpose he spent a lot of time visiting all the country’s nuclear reactors during shutdown times. He was once told: ‘Most men know their way around England by pubs; but you know your way around England by Nuclear Power Stations’.

During his professional career he had more than 100 scientific papers published and was invited to give scientific lectures all over the world. In 1987 he took the opportunity for early retirement from the CEGB, but instead of choosing a life of leisure he embarked on a new project, founding his company Lasermet, which now employs 45 people and is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year.

In 1988 he was awarded the post of visiting Professor at City University London.

He was chairman of the British Standards Institution EPL/76 from 1985 to 2008 and chairman of CENELEC TC 76 from 1993 to 2008 as well as being highly active in IEC TC 76 throughout this time; these committees govern the laser safety standards in UK, Europe and internationally. He dedicated about half of his time to this standards work over a period of more than 20 years, and he gained an international reputation as an expert in the field. In 2008 he received the inaugural award of the British Standards Institute’s 1908 award for outstanding services to standards making.

During the last years of his life he suffered from Alzheimer’s disease which seriously restricted his ability to communicate, but he will be remembered as a kind, gentle and highly intelligent man who was well versed in business, politics, sport and world affairs. He is survived by his wife Pauline and children Caroline and Paul.