Obituary: Dr Stuart Sharrock

26th September 1943-25th August 2019

Dr Stuart Sharrock was a rarity among journalists of the time.  For a start he was actually a nuclear physicist both by trade and qualifications. He held a BSc in Natural Philosophy from Edinburgh University and a PhD in Nuclear Physics from University College, London.

He worked as a scientist in Russia and also at CERN in Switzerland putting those qualifications to good use. Stuart was also part of a team that won a Nobel Prize for Physics – though when pressed on this he would only ever say he was simply part of the backroom team and would change the subject.

Unassuming, would be one apt description of this quietly spoken man.  But he had a giant intellect which he put to good use working for many years as a consultant to the ITU (International Telecommunications Union), and to the IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers).  He sat on editorial boards, designed conference agendas, led discussions from the main stage and asked cogent questions from the conference floor.

As a journalist, he was the youngest editor of the UK’s foremost science journal, Nature, and also the launch editor of Informa’s Mobile Communications International magazine (MCI) which eventually became the telecoms.com website.  At Informa, Dr Sharrock built MCI into a much-respected international title and, in the early days, played a key role shaping and establishing the Mobile World Congress conference – now recognised as perhaps the world’s largest international trade conference and exhibition.

In recent years he has concentrated on conference and event organisation, alongside his contributions to the IEEE’s publications, especially on the Internet of Things.  A thoughtful, informed, commentator with a sharp business brain, Stuart Sharrock will be a much-missed presence whenever the telecoms industry gathers to discuss future direction and technical innovation.

One of his telecoms media contemporaries, Ian Channing, added:

“I knew Stuart for more than thirty years and was proud to call him my friend. Over the years we worked together on many projects including books, advertorials and ITU conferences and publications and I was a witness at his wedding to Heather, enjoying the wedding reception no end!

“We used to say that among the pack of characters that formed the telecoms press of the 1990’s dot.com boom years that Stuart brought the gravitas that the rest of us so sorely lacked.

“During an interminable trip around the nationalised telecoms operators in Scandinavia we were subjected to a strange, rather shambolic dinner in a lighthouse. Stuart, as the senior man, was urged to say a few words of thanks to our hosts. Ever reluctant to put himself forward, he nevertheless made such a graceful speech of thanks I was left wondering whether we had been at the same event.

“On another occasion, during a casual conversation at a trade show, Stuart revealed that in his youth he had been the eponymous Dave Rave, lead singer of Dave Rave and the Rave-Ons – something I would not put past him.

“For me Stuart was that quiet friendly guy who knew everything about technology and was happy to share that knowledge with his compatriots. He was a lovely man with an understated but wicked sense of humour which often came out as we sat enjoying a beverage or two. He will be much missed by me and by the many others who knew and liked him.”

A donations page in his name has been set up with the British Heart Foundation.