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Dr Christine McKie (née Kelsey) (1931-2017)

The Mistress, Fellows and Scholars are saddened to hear that Life Fellow, Dr Christine McKie, passed away on 23 August 2017 aged 86. Her death is a great loss to Girton as she was a greatly admired and respected member of the College.

In 1949, Christine came to Girton to read Natural Sciences and was awarded a postgraduate research studentship from 1953-1956 which enabled her to work on the structure of tobermorite in the Department of Mineralogy and Petrology. After 21 months’ post-doctoral research in Canada, she returned to Girton first as a Hertha Ayrton Bye-Fellow from 1956-57, then as a Research Fellow and College Lecturer, becoming an Official Fellow in 1963. She also held many College offices: Tutor (1963-69), Director of Studies in Physical Sciences (1968-98), Praelector (1968-73), Vice-Mistress (1987-96) and Registrar of the Roll (1989-93); she also served on numerous College committees. After her retirement in 1998 she became a Life Fellow of the College.

Christine was a University Demonstrator in the Department of Mineralogy and Petrology from 1958-63 becoming a University Lecturer in 1963, firstly in the Department of Mineralogy and Petrology and then, from 1980 until her retirement, in the Department of Earth Sciences. She published under her maiden name mainly in her field of mineralogical crystallography. She served on various University committees and was an Additional Pro-Proctor in the University from 1969-71 and 1973-74.

In 1968 she married fellow mineralogist the late Dr Duncan McKie, Fellow of Jesus College. She is particularly well-known for the book she wrote with him called ‘Crystalline Solids’. This book, familiarly known as ‘McKie and McKie’, remains one of the recommended texts for undergraduate courses in crystallography at Cambridge and elsewhere.

Alongside her academic work, her other passions – shared with Duncan – were gardening, birdwatching and walking and hiking in the Scottish Highlands.

Christine McKie will be remembered as a remarkable scholar, and an inspiring mentor. She was a superb source of advice and encouragement for all her students and colleagues both in Girton and in her department. Further details will follow on how Girton will mark her passing and pay tribute to her life.